Reports: Amazon Close to Landing Lucrative MGM Deal
According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is close to a deal to acquire MGM, with Amazon reportedly offering something in the range of $9 billion in exchange for MGM’s 4,000 films and 17,000 hours of television.
While the discussions seemed to closely follow news of the merger of Discovery and AT&T, MGM has apparently been on the auction block for years.
According to the Journal report, an agreement could be announced as early as this week — if talks don’t break down.
The Journal says the deal would be Amazon’s second-largest deal to date, eclipsed only by the $13 billion acquisition of Whole Foods in 2017.
Amazon’s recent offer speaks to the e-commerce giant’s intentions when it comes to continuing to beef up Amazon Prime Video, which by some metrics is already the country's most popular streaming service.
Access to MGM’s legacy content would obviously be a boon to Amazon. However, it’s a bit less clear to what degree such an agreement might disrupt the studio’s current plans with regard to planned theatrical releases of some of their most popular properties, most notably “No Time To Die.”
Said to be Daniel Craig’s last outing as the titular James Bond, the film has been highly anticipated and continually delayed as studios like MGM have struggled to maintain the status quo of tentpole cinema releases amidst the pandemic, resulting in some creative workarounds.
Disney has opted to stream new releases on its Disney+ platform as $29.99 “premiere access” content. Warner Bros., on the other hand, sent all of their 2021 theatrical releases directly to HBO Max.
Neither studio looks like they intend this strategy to be the new normal.
Disney has expressed a lack of enthusiasm about the prospect of continuing its premiere access feature into 2022, and Warner Bros.' plans for 2022 are still undefined.
In spite of this, the fact that HBO Max hit the top ten most downloaded apps in 2021's first quarter thanks to their deal with Warner Bros., it’s clear that there is an appetite among viewers to have top tier theatrical content streamed right into their living rooms.
Reports currently indicate the Amazon’s acquisition of MGM would not disrupt the studio’s 2021 theatrical schedule, although neither company has made any kind of official statement.
007 producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson have explicitly made their intentions known. According to them, “No Time to Die” is coming to the big screen on October 8th.
However, with billions of dollars comes great power. The incentive of exclusive streaming rights to, say, the premiere of a 007 film, might just be tempting enough for Amazon to work some behind-the-scenes magic to give its streaming platform a tremendous shot in the arm. Given that streamers like Apple and Netflix were already provided with the option to license the film but balked at the $600 million price tag, it seems clear that Amazon may just have what it takes to put the world’s most famous secret agent on the country’s most popular streaming platform.