In its quest to expand its push into film and television, Amazon may have just made a pretty bold move. While Amazon Studios has been around since 2015 distributing films, (several of which have secured Academy Award nominations), the massive company may be turning its sights towards acquiring another studio altogether. Reports have indicated that Amazon has recently made a bid to acquire MGM for approximately $9 billion.
The news was broken by Variety yesterday. Although the sources are unnamed, and both Amazon and MGM have refused to comment on the matter, its been no secret that MGM has been looking for someone to buy it. As recently as December of 2020, MGM was trying to sell itself for at least $5 billion. Given the intellectual properties that MGM has under its banner, the acquisition could be huge in the right hands. Of the many franchises they own, “James Bond” alone would be worth a great deal. Add in the “Rocky” franchise, the various “Stargate” series, classics like “The Thin Man” (available on HBO Max), and anything that was made by Orion Pictures like “Robocop,” and there’s a lot of content to be had.
Unfortunately, MGM seems to have something of a curse to it. Despite its storied history and legacy in the film industry, the company has been bought and sold so many times over the years that you may have owned the company at one point and not even known it. Well, it’s not quite that level of ridiculous, but it’s still pretty bad. It’s literally only been about a decade since MGM emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Before that is a history of being purchased at various points by Sony, Ted Turner, and others, such as an Italian fraudster named Giancarlo Parretti who used company funds to seduce women; it’s pretty complicated and deserves an article all for itself.
Suffice to say, the terms MGM and “financial stability” are not commonly heard together in the same sentence, unless it’s to denote how the two are not connected together. It’s therefore no surprise that it’s once again up for sale. This time around, the problems faced by MGM seem to be coming from a combination of the impact that COVID-19 has had on the theater industry, and their lack of a presence in the streaming business that its competitors like Disney and WB have successfully capitalized on. Those studios have found some success in releasing intended theatrical films to streaming. But where was MGM going to release “No Time to Die” except for cinemas? No wonder its been delayed so many times.
With the proper management in place to help distribute MGM’s films and shows, as well as the proper direction in terms of creating new media, the company could be an incredibly valuable asset. Surely Amazon can’t be the only bidder interested in acquiring the storied film producer and distributor. If the sources speaking to Variety are accurate, the discussions have been going on for “weeks.” Given the amount of money Amazon has at its disposal too, the question is not if Amazon can be the highest bidder, only if they think MGM is asking too much.
We’ll have more on this story as it develops.