Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer has been in talks to sell itself to Amazon , according to three people briefed on the matter. If completed, a deal would turbocharge Amazon’s streaming ambitions by bringing James Bond, Rocky, RoboCop and other film and television properties into the e-commerce giant’s fold.
It was unclear how much Amazon might be willing to spend, according to the people briefed on the talks who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the sale process is private. The purchase of Whole Foods for $13.4-billion in 2017 was the biggest acquisition in Amazon’s history. Even $6-billion would make MGM the second-largest.
Representatives for Amazon and MGM declined to comment.
A timeline for a potential deal was unclear, the people said. Michael De Luca, MGM’s chairman, presented the studio’s coming slate to Amazon’s team on Friday, one of the people said.
In total, MGM has about 4,000 films in its library, but many of its characters (the Pink Panther, Chucky the doll) and franchises (“Legally Blonde,” “Tomb Raider”) need reinvention.
MGM, once home to “more stars than the heavens” as its co-founder Louis B. Mayer liked to brag, has been majority owned by Anchorage Capital, a New York investment firm, for more than a decade. Kevin Ulrich, Anchorage’s chief executive and MGM’s chairman, formally put the studio on the block late last year, hiring Aryeh B. Bourkoff, a deal maker and chief executive of LionTree, to orchestrate a sale.
The end of MGM as a stand-alone company would add to a vast reshaping of the media business as the big seek to compete by getting even bigger. On Monday, AT&T announced a deal to spin off its WarnerMedia group and combine it with Discovery Inc., a move designed to strengthen WarnerMedia’s struggling HBO Max streaming service.
Such megadeals have left smaller studios like MGM, Lionsgate and STX Entertainment looking for lifelines. (STX, known for “Hustlers” and “Bad Moms,” merged with the Bollywood studio Eros International last summer.)
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