Jeff Bezos is ready for Amazon to get its hands on MGM’s extensive library, which the tech giant bought for $8.45 billion on Wednesday.
“The acquisition thesis here is really very simple: MGM has a vast deep catalogue of much beloved intellectual property. With the talented people at MGM and the talented people at Amazon Studios, we can reimagine and develop that IP for the 21st century. It’s going to be a lot of fun work, and people who love stories are going to be the big beneficiaries,” Bezos said Wednesday during Amazon’s shareholder meeting, which was held just hours after the deal was announced.
The deal represents tech giant Amazon’s biggest entry into the entertainment content business, as well as its second-largest acquisition behind its $13.7 billion deal to buy Whole Foods in 2017. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.
As Bezos pointed out, the storied Hollywood studio boasts a library that includes 4,000 film titles and 17,000 hours of TV programming, catnip to a tech giant looking to feed its hungry streaming service with content as rivals like Netflix, Disney and the upcoming WarnerMedia/Discovery bulk up their offerings in the space.
But Amazon will acquire only a 50% stake in MGM’s biggest franchise, James Bond, which the studio shares with longtime 007 producers Barbara Broccoli and her brother, Michael Wilson — whose creative control of the series includes the timing of new films, the casting of the lead role and approval of TV spinoffs (which they have so far refused). The 25th film in the series and the last to star Daniel Craig, “No Time to Die,” is due in theaters this October.
The 97-year-old MGM studio, which has been controlled by Anchorage Capital for the last decade since filing for bankruptcy in 2010, had been exploring a sale since late last year with an asking price of a reported $5.5 billion — significantly under the price that Amazon ultimately agreed to pay.