Amazon deal to acquire MGM to come as soon as May 25

75 Inc is poised to announce an acquisition of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie studio as soon as May 25, according to a person familiar with the matter, marking the e-commerce giant’s biggest push yet into Hollywood.

Amazon is in talks to pay almost US$9bil (RM37.27bil) for the business, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private. The discussions – first reported last week – could still fall apart, and it’s possible that the price or timing changes.

The agreement would bring a vast library of movies and shows to Amazon, which operates the Prime Video streaming service. MGM’s catalog includes the James Bond, Pink Panther, RoboCop and Rocky franchises, as well as films such as The Silence Of The Lambs.

Amazon and MGM declined to comment.

MGM, currently owned by hedge funds including Anchorage Capital Group, has been seen as a takeover target for years, but was never able to close a sale before. The company made a fresh push last year, when it reportedly hired advisers to seek offers.

“The acquisition could raise’s streaming profile by adding a mountain of proprietary content, strengthening the reach and value of its Prime offering. The deal would be Amazon’s second biggest after Whole Foods,” said Poonam Goyal, Bloomberg Intelligence retail analyst.

The studio also has sought other ways to wring money from its movies. It held talks with Apple Inc and Netflix Inc about taking its new James Bond film directly to streaming, people familiar with the matter said last year. The studio opted to stick with a theatrical release for the film, which debuts in the US on Oct 8.

The Wall Street Journal previously reported that an MGM-Amazon deal could come as soon as this week.

At roughly US$9bil (RM37.27bil), the MGM takeover would be Amazon’s biggest acquisition since it agreed to buy Whole Foods in 2017 for US$13.7bil (RM56.74bil). But it’s not the first sign that the company is willing to spend big on media. The company shelled out about US$11bil (RM45.56bil) on content for its streaming video and music services last year alone. And it agreed to pay about US$1bil (RM4.14bil) a year on NFL rights. – Bloomberg

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