Amazon Closes $8.5 Billion Acquisition of MGM

Popular on Variety

Amazon has closed its $8.5 billion acquisition of MGM, the companies said Thursday.

The pact was first announced in May and has been winding its way through the regulatory process. Per Amazon, “The storied, nearly century-old studio — with more than 4,000 film titles, 17,000 TV episodes, 180 Academy Awards, and 100 Emmy Awards — will complement Prime Video and Amazon Studios’ work in delivering a diverse offering of entertainment choices to customers.”

The completion of the transaction comes two days after the Amazon-MGM deal received clearance from the European Union’s antitrust regulator, which “unconditionally” approved Amazon’s proposed acquisition of MGM, in part because “MGM’s content cannot be considered as must-have.” The European Commission, in its antitrust review, found that the overlaps between the Amazon and MGM businesses are “limited.”

At that time, the deal was still pending clearance by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which Amazon gave a mid-March deadline to issue a decision on the transaction, the Wall Street Journal reported. That meant if the FTC did not file a legal challenge before the deadline, Amazon could move forward with the deal, per the report.

As of Thursday morning, the FTC has not yet made a public challenge or approval of the deal. However, an individual with knowledge of the matter told Variety the FTC does not formally approve transactions; it either challenges them or it doesn’t and, should the agency choose to challenge them, the FTC may do so before or after they are consummated. Amazon declined to comment on the FTC aspect of the transaction close announcement.

The companies have not yet disclosed what leadership will look like at the now-merged MGM and Amazon, where Jennifer Salke is currently the head of Amazon Studios and industry chatter has led to speculation she could serve as the chief of a combined studio.

According to an Amazon rep, with the deal closed, MGM’s management team is joining the group headed by Mike Hopkins, senior VP of Prime Video and Amazon Studios. That includes film chief Michael De Luca and television group head Mark Burnett.

“MGM has a nearly century-long legacy of producing exceptional entertainment, and we share their commitment to delivering a broad slate of original films and television shows to a global audience,” Hopkins said in a statement. “We welcome MGM employees, creators, and talent to Prime Video and Amazon Studios, and we look forward to working together to create even more opportunities to deliver quality storytelling to our customers.”

Click here to subscribe to Variety‘s free Strictly Business newsletter covering media earnings, financial and investment news and more.

Chris Brearton, chief operating officer of MGM, added: “We are excited for MGM and its bounty of iconic brands, legendary films and television series, and our incredible team and creative partners to join the Prime Video family. MGM has been responsible for the creation of some of the most well-known and critically acclaimed films and television series of the past century. We look forward to continuing that tradition as we head into this next chapter, coming together with the great team at Prime Video and Amazon Studios to provide audiences with the very best in entertainment for years to come.”

MGM, founded in 1924, will bring Amazon a catalog of more than 4,000 movies and 17,000 TV shows, including James Bond, Pink Panther and Rocky movie franchises. Amazon believes “the real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of [intellectual property] in the deep catalog that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM’s talented team,” Hopkins said in announcing the deal last year.

MGM’s film catalog includes “12 Angry Men,” “Basic Instinct,” “Creed” and “Rocky,” “Legally Blonde,” “Moonstruck,” “Poltergeist,” “Raging Bull,” “Robocop,” “Silence of the Lambs,” “Stargate,” “Thelma & Louise,” “Tomb Raider,” “The Magnificent Seven,” “The Pink Panther,” “The Thomas Crown Affair” and, of course, the James Bond series. On the TV front, the studio has produced “Fargo,” “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Vikings.”

Todd Spangler contributed to this report.