MGM Sells to Amazon for $8.45 Billion
If someone asked you to name a company that Amazon has merged with over the past few years, odds are you can probably name at least one. Whole Foods and the popular streaming service Twitch are just two that I can think of off the top of my head. And as Amazon continues to build its empire, the Jeff Bezos-owned super company just made one of its biggest purchases to date: the acquisition of Metro Goldwyn Mayer, known to most as MGM Studios. The price tag? $8.45 billion.
You couldn't grow up in the 90s/2000s without having seen a movie or television series with the iconic MGM opening logos, a beautiful lion roaring on your screen before you chowed down on some popcorn and took in the latest James Bond flick.
That's right. MGM is the long-time rights holder to 007 and the James Bond series. But our favorite vodka martini-drinking spy isn't the only major IP MGM has the rights to. Franchises like the popular Hulu series The Handmaid's Tale, FX's Fargo, Rocky, Vikings, and the franchise on this list nearest and dearest to my heart, Stargate, all fall under the MGM banner. The list goes on, but these are the big properties that Amazon has added to their already significant arsenal of films and television series.
Amazon Presents James Bond 007 in....
On paper, this looks like just another big business empire like Comcast or Disney picking off the competition by forcing these acquisitions with, for the lack of a better term, "fuck you money." But Amazon's purchase of MGM isn't as cut and dry as you might think.
MGM has been bleeding money for over a decade. Back in 2009, the studio had over 3.5 billion dollars racked up in debt. Every major company has some form of debt, but MGM was in debt and barely breaking even at the end of the year. With 250 million dollar interest payments and only making about 500 million on the few films the studio was putting out, you do the math.
In the Winter of 2010, it was becoming evident that MGM was going to be sold. In November of the same year, chapter 11 bankruptcy was filed, and MGM's days as a powerhouse studio were over. With the studio's creditors taking over the company, MGM was actually able to survive the filing, despite almost closing its doors. For the next ten years, MGM made moves and partnerships with Starz and others in an attempt to remain relevant, but by December of this past year, MGM once again announced its intent to sell.
The news was not shocking. MGM was the first studio to delay a major release amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and not just any release. Originally slated to release in November of 2019 before the pandemic, No Time to Die, the final Daniel Craig-led James Bond film was first delayed an entire year, and then again to April of this year. That time came and went, and the film is now slated for an October 8th release. Along with employee layoffs and a shuffling of top executives, and millions of theater closures, COVID ultimately sealed MGM's fate.
Amazon was quick to jump on the chance to purchase the historic studio and only last week put in an offer of $9 billion. Obviously, MGM was more than happy with the number, as the sale was finalized today.
Usually, I'd be frowning and waving my fist at the man picking off one of the most historic movie studios of all time, but this was indeed a long time coming. In fact, this acquisition will more than likely breathe new life into MGM's current franchises and possibly others that are due for a revival. The question now becomes, what does Amazon do with the fantastic properties they now have the rights to?
As I write this, I'm having this very conversation with some friends. With this being Amazon's first (and more than likely not the last) major studio acquisition, there's undoubtedly going to be some decisions to be made. Does Amazon drop the MGM name with so much history or continue to release films and series under the MGM banner? My bet is on the latter.
Amazon would be stupid to get rid of this.
That iconic roar? The classic Leo the Lion logo? Bezos may be a horrible human being, but he's not stupid. Amazon, even with their feature-length films, tends to release these on Prime Video first. MGM is Bezos' gateway into the brick and mortar cinema, and with that, even more, "fuck you money."
Television is another matter. Amazon is already a streaming powerhouse with Prime Video. Using the MGM name for any properties they decide to continue producing or possibly revive seems counterproductive to their business model. Look for series like Handmaid's Tale, Fargo, etc., to switch over to the Prime Video banner and umbrella. It will certainly be interesting to see if those series stay on their respective networks and streaming services or if they'll immediately move over to Prime.
Speaking of revivals, if you're a Stargate fan, it's been rumored for some time now that SG-1 co-creator Brad Wright has been working on a new series in the universe. In 2019, he had confirmed that he was back working with MGM on the latest Stargate series, and just two months ago, he announced that fan-favorite Daniel Jackson would appear in the debut episode.
Who doesn't want to see our favorite archeologist back on tv?
Of course, this was under the MGM banner. Who knows now if the series is in some weird limbo or not with the new deal. That all being said, with 15 seasons worth of television and the possibility even to bring the series back to the big screen, it would be stupid for Amazon not to move forward with the revival of this beloved franchise.
The next few months will be exciting and hopefully insightful into Amazon's direction with all these new IPs under their belt. What do you think of MGM selling to Amazon? Let us know in the comments, or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!