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Amazon boosts its streaming business with $8.45 billion MGM deal

Bezos buys Bond, Bilbo Baggins, and Balboa

Amazon has announced it will acquire Hollywood studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) in a deal worth $8.45 billion to boost its Prime video streaming business.

MGM, founded in 1924, is home to blockbuster franchises past and present, including James Bond, the Rocky movies, and The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings franchises.

"The real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of IP in the deep catalog that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM's talented team," SVP of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, Mike Hopkins, said in a press statement. "It's very exciting and provides so many opportunities for high-quality storytelling."

Hopkins also said MGM productions have racked up more than 180 Oscars and 100 Emmys. MGM has around 800 employees worldwide.

While the deal means Amazon will get its hands on MGM's recent movies and around 17,000 television shows, it won't get any films from before 1986, which are still owned by Warner Bros. It also won't get MGM's huge production lot, which is now occupied by Sony Pictures.

Amazon will only own half of the James Bond franchise — the other half belongs to Barbara Broccoli and her brother, Michael G. Wilson, who also retain complete creative control over the franchise.

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MGM Chairman of the Board of Directors Kevin Ulrich said in a statement that he was "very proud that MGM's Lion, which has long evoked the Golden Age of Hollywood, will continue its storied history, and the idea born from the creation of United Artists lives on in a way the founders originally intended, driven by the talent and their vision".

"The opportunity to align MGM's storied history with Amazon is an inspiring combination," he added.

Amazon outbid competitors, such as Apple and Comcast, by offering 40% more cash, according to reports from the New York Times. MGM has been quietly shopped around by financial institutions for prospective buyers for months now.

The MGM deal is Amazon's second biggest, following only its Whole Foods acquisition in 2017 for $13.7 billion. The deal follows AT&T's decision this month to merge Warner Media with Discovery to create a movie and TV company worth more than $130 billion.

The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals. If approved, MGM will join Amazon's other entertainment, including IMDb TV, Twitch, and Box Office Mojo.

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