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Amazon in talks to buy MGM Studios for $9bn


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Amazon in talks to buy MGM Studios for $9bn - reports

4 hours ago
Elisabeth Moss in The Handmaid's TaleIMAGE COPYRIGHTMGM
image captionIn recent times MGM has produced the Handmaid's Tale TV series and James Bond movie franchise

Amazon is reportedly in talks to buy the historic MGM Studios for $9bn (£6.35bn).

MGM is one of Hollywood's most famous studios, with its Leo the Lion logo and an almost century-long history.

The sale would give the tech giant's Prime streaming service access to a vast back catalogue of iconic content.

The reports come just hours after telecoms giant AT&T agreed to combine its WarnerMedia unit with Discovery in a deal to create a new streaming giant.

MGM Holdings, the parent company of MGM Studios, has reportedly been exploring a sale since the end of last year, according to media reports.

The purchase by Amazon of MGM Studios would mark a major step for its Prime streaming service.

MGM Studios has a huge catalogue of films and television shows covering the last ten decades, through the Golden Age of Hollywood to the present day. It is home to some of the biggest movies of all time, including Ben-Hur and The Wizard of Oz.

In more recent times it has produced the James Bond movie franchise and The Handmaid's Tale TV series.

Amazon and MGM have not yet responded to requests for comment from the BBC.

media captionWATCH: The BBC speaks exclusively to the author who wrote the books that inspired the Netflix series Bridgerton.

On Monday an agreement was announced to put together movie giant Warner Bros. Entertainment, which owns the Harry Potter and Batman franchises, with Discovery's home, cooking, nature and science shows.

WarnerMedia-owned HBO and HBO Max now have around 64 million subscribers worldwide, with hits such as Game of Thrones and Succession under its belt.

But it is currently dwarfed by larger rivals like Netflix, which has 208 million subscribers, and Disney+, which has more than 100 million.

Discovery, whose portfolio includes Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel, reaches more than 88 million US homes, while its Discovery+ streaming service, which launched in January, has 15m subscribers.

"This is a streaming arms race and AT&T is making an offensive strategic move to further bulk up its content in the battle versus Netflix, Disney, and Amazon," Dan Ives from Wedbush Securities told the BBC.

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I'm torn between

A) saying "YES.  Dear gods, please, please buy them, and put the streaming industry out of its misery!", and

B ) the fact that so many MGM, United Artists, Orion, Cannon, American International and other 70's-80's independent studios are floating around without ownership was what re-invigorated the third-party Blu/DVD industry during the Digital Wars, and provided about 80% of Twilight Time's out-of-copyright United Artists releases, including the complete 70's-80's Woody Allen filmography.  It's because of the MGM Orphanage that we could get Criterion editions of "Some Like It Hot" and "The Princess Bride".

And if Amazon gets a hold of 2/3 of the Out-of-Copyright Orphans, they're not exactly the Remastering on Blu-ray type.

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