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Amazon Negotiating Deal to Acquire MGM for $9 Billion: Variety

Amazon has been in negotiations to acquire MGM for about $9 billion, Variety reported Monday.

The tech giant has reportedly been negotiating a deal for “weeks,” industry sources told the news outlet. The Information first reported on Monday that Amazon was in talks for a potential deal that could run between $7 billion and $10 billion.

“The deal is said to be being orchestrated by Mike Hopkins, senior VP of Amazon Studios and Prime Video, directly with MGM board chairman Kevin Ulrich, whose Anchorage Capital is a major MGM shareholder,” according to the Variety report.

The potential sale of MGM to Amazon could signal the tech company’s move to expand its Amazon Prime streaming inventory to include MGM’s extensive array of big-name movies and TV shows. These include the James Bond, Hobbit, Rocky, and Pink Panther franchises, alongside “Legally Blonde,” and “A Star is Born.”

MGM also owns the streaming service Epix.

The Wall Street Journal reported in December that MGM was exploring a sale. The company had already started a formal sale process and potential buyers had been expressing interest since spring 2020, per The Journal’s report. At the time that it was considering a sale, the company had a market value of $5.5 billion.

Other companies have also been in the running to acquire MGM, including ViacomCBS and Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Representatives from Amazon and MGM did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Like the rest of the film industry, MGM was hit by the pandemic, and had to push back the release of upcoming Bond installment “No Time To Die.” Its total revenue dropped 3% year-over-year to $1.5 billion in 2020, and its film segment being the worst hit with an 83% fall in revenue from theatrical releases as movie theaters closed during the pandemic or operated at lower capacity.

But the company said it was saved by its impressive catalog, which includes around 4,000 films and 17,000 TV show episodes, and COO Christopher Brearton said 2021 could be its biggest-ever year for new content.

Amazon, meanwhile, has been knuckling down on investment in its media division as demand for streaming boomed during the pandemic.

Last month, Amazon’s streaming service surpassed 200 million Prime members worldwide — 175 million of which streamed Prime Video content in the last year, according to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. He added that that streaming hours were up more than 70% year-over-year.

The company said that it made $7.6 million – or around 7% of its total net sales – from its subscription services in the first quarter of 2021.

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