Amazon is reportedly in talks to buy Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the historic Hollywood studio, in a move that would bring thousands of movie and television properties to the online retail giant's streaming portfolio. MGM has been reportedly looking for a buyer for months, and valued itself at $9 billion, reports The New York Times. If Amazon does buy MGM, it could provide a content library for Prime Video that could provide Netflix with serious competition.
On Monday, The Information reported that MGM and Amazon were in talks for a deal between $7 billion and $10 billion. Industry sources told Variety MGM was looking for $9 billion, but others think the studio is worth about $5 billion. Apple and Comcast were reportedly interested at about $6 billion, but MGM rejected their offers. It's not clear when a deal could close. MGM chairman Michael De Luca reportedly showed off the company's upcoming projects to Amazon on Friday. Sources told Variety that the talks are being handled personally by Amazon Studios and Prime Video Senior VP Mike Hopkins and MGM board chairman Kevin Ulrich. Amazon and MGM have not commented on the reports.
This move is the latest sign from Amazon that it is seriously looking to expand its entertainment business. The company recently re-hired former executive Jeff Blackburn to come back in a newly created position to oversee Amazon's newly consolidated media group. Amazon has 200 million Prime members worldwide, but only 170 million of them streamed Prime Video content in the past year, Jeff Bezos told investors. Clearly, the goal is to get all 200 million members to use Prime Video.
Although many of the classic MGM films from the studio's heyday of the 1930s to the 1950s are owned by WarnerMedia thanks to Ted Turner's deals in the 1980s, the company still owns over 4,000 film titles. Franchises still under the MGM umbrella include Tomb Raider, James Bond, The Hobbit, Rocky, RoboCop and Pink Panther. The studio also owns popular movies like The Silence of the Lambs and The Magnificent Seven. MGM's television library includes over 17,000 hours of programming, including several recent hits like Fargo, The Handmaid's Tale, Teen Wolf, Shark Tank, The Voice, The Hills, and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. The studio's upcoming films include the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect and Ridley Scott's House of Gucci with Lady Gaga.
Today, MGM is majority-owned by Ulrich's Anchorage Capital, a New York investment firm. Anchorage hired LionTree CEO Aryeh B. Bourkoff to oversee the sale. Ulrich has reportedly been under internal pressure to sell MGM, as some stakeholders thought he was "overly enamored" with Hollywood, reports the Times. Variety reported in December that Anchorage was finally starting its search for a buyer.