17 MAR 2022

Amazon completes $8.45bn MGM purchase

While the FTC un the United States had not issued any statement, today’s confirmation from Amazon and MGM indicates the authority did not decide to move forward with any challenge. 

17 MAR 2022

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Amazon’s US$8.45bn acquisition of MGM has been completed, the companies confirmed on Thursday. The news comes after the European Commission gave its blessing for the acquisition earlier this week. “MGM has a nearly century-long legacy of producing exceptional entertainment. We share their commitment to delivering a broad slate of original films and television shows to a global audience,” Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, said. “We welcome MGM employees, creators, and talent to Prime Video and Amazon Studios. We look forward to working together to create even more opportunities to deliver quality storytelling to our customers.”

With European approval in hand, the deal still needed to pass muster in the US, where the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was presiding over its approval. According to reports, Amazon had given the FTC until the middle of March to decide whether to challenge the approval. While the FTC had not stated at press time, today’s statement from Amazon and MGM indicates the FTC did not decide to move forward with a challenge. “We are excited for MGM and its bounty of iconic brands, legendary films, and television series, and our incredible team and creative partners to join the Prime Video family,” Chris Brearton, chief operating officer of MGM, said in a statement. “MGM has been responsible for creating some of the most well-known and critically acclaimed films and television series of the past century. We look forward to continuing that tradition as we head into this next chapter, coming together with the great team at Prime Video and Amazon Studios to provide audiences with the very best in entertainment for years to come.”

The Seattle-based retailer announced the transaction in May 2021, saying MGM offered a trove of content to develop and use to draw consumers to its fast-shipping and streaming club Prime, which costs $14.99 per month in the United States. The FTC did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The companies have not yet disclosed what leadership will look like at the now-merged MGM and Amazon, where Jennifer Salke is currently the head of Amazon Studios. She is the main candidate to serve as the chief of a combined studio. It’s unclear if MGM’s executive team, including film chief Michael De Luca and television group head Mark Burnett, will stay on after the merger. According to Amazon, MGM's staff will join the organization of Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Prime Video and Amazon Studios.

MGM brings upwards of 4,000 films and 17,000 TV episodes, which Amazon said will “complement Prime Video and Amazon Studios’ work in delivering a diverse offering of entertainment choices to customers,” in a blog. On the TV side, MGM’s catalog includes "The Handmaid’s Tale," "Fargo," and "Vikings," while its film library includes "James Bond," "12 Angry Men," "Basic Instinct," "Creed," "Moonstruck," "Raging Bull," "Robocop," "Rocky," "Silence of the Lambs," "Stargate," "Thelma & Louise," and "Tomb Raider."