Jeff Bezos’ Amazon is getting close to a deal to buy MGM, the Hollywood studio behind hits like the James Bond and Rocky series and “The Handmaid’s Tale,” for $9 billion, according to a new report.
Citing anonymous sources, the Wall Street Journal said the Silicon Valley/Hollywood pact could be announced “as early as this week.”
The news comes after several outlets reported last week that the e-commerce giant was in talks to buy the legendary studio, whose film and TV catalog includes both classic films like “The Silence of the Lambs” and popular TV shows like “Shark Tank,” for between $7 billion and $10 billion.
If the deal goes through, it will mark Amazon’s second-largest acquisition in its history behind its 2017 deal to acquire Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. The deal will also give the Seattle-based company, which runs streaming service Prime Video and the movie studio Amazon Studios, more gravitas in Hollywood as it competes against the likes of Netflix and Disney+.
The deal is being orchestrated by Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Amazon Studios and Prime Video, directly with MGM board chairman Kevin Ulrich, whose Anchorage Capital is a major MGM shareholder, Variety said Tuesday.
MGM started exploring a sale late last year, tapping investment banks Morgan Stanley and LionTree to kick off a formal sale process. At the time, the company reportedly had a market value of around $5.5 billion based on privately traded shares and including debt.
The Information reported Monday that Amazon’s potential deal for MGM would value the studio between $7 billion and $10 billion, while other sources put the valuation at between $5 billion and $9 billion.
News of the deal emerged after Bezos, Amazon’s founder and the richest man in the world, tapped Amazon longtime entertainment exec Jeff Blackburn to return to the company to oversee its gaming and entertainment division. Blackburn surprised industry insiders by returning to Amazon after just five weeks away working in venture capital.
Sources told The Post that Bezos decided he needed Blackburn to pick up the slack for incoming chief executive Andrew Jassy, a pointy-headed cloud-computing whiz who “doesn’t understand Hollywood.” His unit would likely include MGM.