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Amazon completes MGM merger, will add studio’s films and TV to Prime Video

Illustration of the MGM logo with a picture of Jeff Bezos instead of a lion, James Bond actor Daniel Craig, and a man wearing a jacket with an Amazon logo.

Amazon announced on Thursday that it has completed its acquisition of MGM, saying the iconic maker of movies and TV shows is joining Prime Video and Amazon Studios. “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,” Amazon said.

The $8.45 billion deal was announced in May 2021. Amazon was able to complete it without a protracted fight because the Federal Trade Commission hasn’t challenged it in court, despite other conflicts between Amazon and the FTC.

“The move comes after Amazon certified to the Federal Trade Commission that it had provided all the information requested by antitrust investigators reviewing the deal,” The Wall Street Journal wrote today. “That step put the deal on a regulatory clock with the agency that has now expired, leaving the company free to move forward, a person familiar with the matter said.”

The FTC could still challenge the merger and try to unwind it if a majority of commissioners votes to do so. The FTC—just like the Federal Communications Commission—is deadlocked with two Democrats and two Republicans. Biden’s nomination of Alvaro Bedoya is pending in the full Senate after a 14-14 vote in the Senate Commerce Committee on March 3.

European Commission approved merger

The European Commission approved the Amazon/MGM merger on Tuesday, saying it determined that the purchase “would not significantly reduce competition.” Among other things, “the overlaps between Amazon and MGM are limited,” and “the addition of MGM’s content into Amazon’s Prime Video offer would not have a significant impact on Amazon’s position as a provider of marketplace services,” the EC said.

The European regulator also found that “MGM’s content cannot be considered as must-have, and a wide variety of alternative content exists,” that “MGM’s films represent only a limited share of box office revenues in the EEA [European Economic Area], and that overall, MGM is not among the top production studios, despite its rights over successful film franchises such as James Bond.”

Amazon pointed out that MGM’s catalog also includes Rocky, Creed, Thelma & Louise, The Silence of the Lambs, The Magnificent Seven, and Raging Bull. When it announced the purchase last year, Amazon promised “greater access” to MGM content and said that “the real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of IP in the deep catalog that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM’s talented team.”

The merger is Amazon’s second-biggest after its $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods in 2017.

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