As recent events illustrate, merger-mania is one area of the entertainment business that doesn’t seem to have been hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, speculation is rife that another big deal is in play — this one, involving the acquisition of venerable film and television studio MGM by global e-commerce and streaming powerhouse Amazon.
As reported by The Information on Monday (May 17) and afterwards by other outlets, Seattle-headquartered Amazon is considering a purchase of MGM Holdings valued at between US$7 billion and $10 billion. In December of 2020, the Wall Street Journal broke the news that MGM was looking for a buyer.
Subsidiaries of MGM Studios include premium cable net Epix and MGM TV, which produces such unscripted series as NBC’s The Voice, ABC’s Shark Tank, and CBS’s Survivor.
In 2014 and 2015, the studio acquired the production company One Three Media, owned by Mark Burnett, known for creating and producing The Apprentice and producing Survivor. Burnett was promoted to chairman of MGM’s Worldwide Television Group in 2018.
MGM also has Evolution Media and Big Fish Entertainment under its umbrella.
On the scripted front, MGM is behind several television and streaming hits, including Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale and FX’s Fargo, as well as iconic film franchises such as The Lord of the Rings and the James Bond series. They form part of a film catalogue that is 4,000 titles deep.
Amazon, meanwhile, recently made a major move in its entertainment department, bringing back Jeff Blackburn to serve as SVP of a newly consolidated global media and entertainment division.
The organizational structure Blackburn will oversee will include Prime Video and Amazon Studios, as well as the music, podcasts/Wondery, Audible, games and Twitch divisions.
(with files from Andrew Jeffrey and Jillian Morgan)