The e-commerce giant and owner of the Amazon Prime studios and content-streaming service reportedly is in negotiations to acquire the film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for as much as $10 billion.
The Financial Times and Variety both reported Tuesday that Amazon was in discussions to buy the fabled Hollywood studio for as much as $9 billion. In a separate report, website The Information said the deal could fetch between $7 billion to $10 billion.
Amazon’s overtures to acquire the nearly century-old MGM studios would be its biggest push yet into the world of entertainment and producing content for both the small and big screen, specifically Amazon’s Prime streaming service.
MGM, whose library includes the famed “James Bond” franchise as well as “Rocky” films and “Silence of the Lambs,” also has held talks with Apple (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report and Netflix (NFLX) - Get Netflix Inc. Report about taking its upcoming James Bond film directly to streaming. But the company said last year that it’s committed to a theatrical release for the film, which is currently slated for Oct. 8 in the U.S.
MGM has been seen as a takeover target for years but was never able to close a sale. The company made a fresh push last year when it reportedly hired advisers to solicit offers. MGM Studios is currently owned by investment firms Anchorage Capital, Highland Capital, Solus Alternative Asset Management, Third Point LLC and Maglan Capital LP.
Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Amazon Studios and Prime Video, is in direct talks with Kevin Ulrich, MGM's board chairman, Variety said, citing unnamed sources. Ulrich's hedge fund, Anchorage Capital, is the largest shareholder of the film studio.
Amazon, meanwhile, is reshuffling its entertainment operations with the return of long-time executive Jeff Blackburn. Blackburn briefly left the company to join Silicon Valley venture capital firm Bessemer Venture Partners. He is now leading Amazon’s entertainment division, including Prime, as well as Amazon Studios and video-game-streaming site Twitch.
Shares of Amazon were up 0.81% at $3,297 in premarket trading.