In the latest round of merger mania, Amazon is in talks to buy the studio MGM, according to report in The Information on Monday.
Citing a person familiar with the situation, The Information reported the deal could be anywhere between $7 and $10 billion.
If a sale were to happen, it would represent Amazon’s biggest play in the content game after years of speculation that the retail giant was in the market for acquisitions. In December, MGM hired Morgan Stanley and LionTree LLC to launch a formal sale process.
Reps for both MGM and Amazon declined to comment on what each company described as “rumors and speculation.”
Along with its film and TV library, MGM also owns premium cable network Epix, which earlier this year expanded its partnership with Paramount to make films licensed to the network available for streaming on Paramount+.
In 2019, the studio grossed just over $23 million at the domestic box office — and last year’s releases have been delayed by the pandemic, including the expected blockbuster 25th Bond film, “No Time to Die,” which is currently aiming for an October 2021 release in theaters. Other films set for release by the studio include Michael B. Jordan’s “Creed III” and Ridley Scott’s “House of Gucci” starring Adam Driver and Lady Gaga.
The news of Amazon’s interest in MGM comes just hours after AT&T reached a deal to spinoff WarnerMedia in a merger with Discovery. With multiple media companies launching their own streaming services, pressure is mounting among the industry’s biggest companies to acquire smaller studios and media entities in an effort to increase the amount of content they can offer to customers.
Since classic films and TV shows provide an easy way to bolster a streamer’s content pool, studios like MGM, which holds one of the largest film archives in the industry thanks to its status as one of Hollywood’s oldest studios, a major target as media consolidation ramps up. In addition to the James Bond and “Rocky” franchises,” MGM produces TV hits such as “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Vikings” as well as reality TV shows like “Survivor” and “The Voice.” The studio’s library includes a 4,000 film titles and 17,000 hours of TV programming.
Amazon, meanwhile, has been rapidly building its media division, having spent $11 billion in 2020 on movies, TV shows, and music for its Amazon Prime service. In addition, the company recently arranged for Jeff Blackburn, who had departed Amazon this past February, to return next month as SVP of a new media division that will encompass all of the company’s media services, including Amazon Prime, Twitch, Audible, and Amazon Studios.