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How Will Amazon Uncage Its New Lion as the Tech Giant Goes Hollywood?

How Will Amazon Uncage Its New Lion as the Tech Giant Goes Hollywood?
Hollywood has spent the past week trying to imagine how Amazon will integrate MGM after its $8.5 billion acquisition of the legendary studio is complete.

Did Amazon overpay? What is the fate of MGM film chief Michael De Luca? How much will MGM TV chief Mark Burnett pocket in the sale? (The answer: enough to bring his total haul from multiple sales of his production banner to nearly $1 billion.)

But the forward-looking question is how Amazon may change once MGM is brought into Jeff Bezos’ enormous tent of e-commerce, web-hosting services and media.

As the details of the MGM deal emerged, so too did speculation about Amazon’s long-term plans. Sources close to the situation say there have even been discussions about Amazon eventually spinning off the Prime Video and Amazon Studios units into a stand-alone entity; however, Amazon sources dispute this.

Jeff Blackburn’s return to Amazon earlier this month
See full article at Variety »

Executive Team In Play As Amazon Set To Absorb MGM; Who’s On Deck?

Executive Team In Play As Amazon Set To Absorb MGM; Who’s On Deck?
With the $8.75 billion Amazon-MGM deal wrapped, the question around Hollywood now is who will run it and whether MGM execs will cash big checks and head for the exits.

The acquisition announced Wednesday morning will give the tech giant a vast library to feed its Prime Video streaming service, which is a motor for Amazon Prime.

The e-commerce giant’s CEO Jeff Bezos, during his company’s annual meeting today, alluded to Amazon Studios management and MGM management working together “to re-imagine MGM’s IP for the 21st century.” But who and how is still to be announced, raising questions about the role among others of Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke; Mark Burnett, chairman of the MGM Worldwide Television Group; and MGM Motion Picture Group chairman Michael De Luca. There are rumors of every different scenario, including that Salke would oversee TV, De Luca film, with both reporting to Jeff Blackburn,
See full article at Deadline »

Amazon Buys MGM for $8.45 Billion

Amazon Buys MGM for $8.45 Billion
Well, it's happened, Amazon has merged with MGM in a deal that has seen the company pay a reported $8.45 billion for the struggling studio, giving them the rights to several iconic franchise including Rocky and James Bond. Talks have been escalating between Amazon and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. for the last few weeks which has concluded in a billion-dollar deal, meaning that the likes of 007 will now fall under the Amazon umbrella.

"Amazon will help preserve MGM's heritage and catalog of films, and provide customers with greater access to these existing works. Through this acquisition, Amazon would empower MGM to continue to do what they do best: great storytelling," the Jeff Bezos-founded company said.

"MGM has a vast catalog with more than 4,000 films-12 Angry Men, Basic Instinct, Creed, James Bond, Legally Blonde, Moonstruck, Poltergeist, Raging Bull, Robocop, Rocky, Silence of the Lambs, Stargate, Thelma & Louise, Tomb Raider, The Magnificent Seven,
See full article at MovieWeb »

Amazon to acquire MGM for $8.45 billion

Amazon to acquire MGM for $8.45 billion
Amazon and MGM today announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Amazon will acquire MGM for a purchase price of $8.45 billion. MGM has nearly a century of filmmaking history and complements the work of Amazon Studios, which has primarily focused on producing TV show programming. Amazon will help preserve MGM’s heritage and catalogue of films and provide customers with greater access to these existing works. Through this acquisition, Amazon would empower MGM to continue to do what they do best: great storytelling.

"MGM has a vast catalog with more than 4,000 films -12 Angry Men, Basic Instinct, Creed, James Bond, Legally Blonde, Moonstruck, Poltergeist, Raging Bull, Robocop, Rocky, Silence of the Lambs, Stargate, Thelma & Louise, Tomb Raider, The Magnificent Seven, The Pink Panther, The Thomas Crown Affair, and many other icons - as well as 17,000 TV shows - including Fargo, The Handmaid’s Tale,
See full article at GlamSham »

Amazon buys James Bond studio MGM for $8.45bn

Amazon buys James Bond studio MGM for $8.45bn
MGM has a catalogue of more than 4,000 films including the James Bond franchise.

Amazon and MGM have announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which the tech giant will acquire one of Hollywood’s most famous studios for a purchase price of $8.45bn.

The deal means Amazon’s Prime streaming service will gain access to a back catalogue of more than 4,000 films, including the James Bond franchise, and 17,000 TV shows such as The Handmaid’s Tale and Fargo.

The agreement complements the work of Amazon Studios, which has primarily focused on producing TV series such as The Boys,
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Amazon to Buy MGM For $8.45 Billion

  • The Wrap
Amazon to Buy MGM For $8.45 Billion
Amazon will acquire MGM for $8.45 billion, the companies announced Wednesday.

The deal represents tech giant Amazon’s biggest entry into the entertainment content business, as well as its second-largest acquisition behind its $13.7 billion deal to buy Whole Foods in 2017. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

The storied Hollywood studio boasts a library that includes 4,000 film titles and 17,000 hours of TV programming, catnip to a tech giant looking to feed its hungry streaming service with content as rivals like Netflix, Disney and the upcoming WarnerMedia/Discovery bulk up their offerings in the space.

“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. It’s very exciting and provides so many opportunities for high-quality storytelling,” Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Prime Video and Amazon Studios,
See full article at The Wrap »

Deal Done – Amazon Buying MGM For $8.45 Billion; No Word On Questions From Leadership Structure To Epix

Deal Done – Amazon Buying MGM For $8.45 Billion; No Word On Questions From Leadership Structure To Epix
After months and weeks of speculation, Amazon and MGM are merging in a deal that has the e-commerce giant acquiring the storied studio for $8.45 billion.

It’s the first groundbreaking deal in a long anticipated marriage of the era’s big tech players and Hollywood, sparked by a digital revolution in content and the explosion of streaming. The pact, which will recast Prime Video, is the second mega-merger in as many weeks following the planned combination of AT&T’s WarnerMedia and Discovery.

Amazon declined to comment beyond the release but a person close to the company said, as Deadline reported Friday, that it intends to continue MGM’s theatrical releases and looks forward to MGM’s fan-favorites hitting theaters.

The announcement this morning is pretty bare bones and there’s no press briefing planned. It’s early days and the Seattle company didn’t address some big issues including the
See full article at Deadline »

Amazon Buys MGM, Studio Behind James Bond, for $8.45 Billion

  • Variety
Amazon Buys MGM, Studio Behind James Bond, for $8.45 Billion
James Bond has a new home: Amazon and MGM announced a definitive merger agreement under which Amazon will acquire MGM for $8.45 billion.

MGM, founded in 1924, complements Amazon Studios, which has primarily focused on producing TV programming, the companies said. Amazon will help “preserve MGM’s heritage and catalog of films” and provide customers with greater access to these existing works, the companies added.

For Amazon, snapping up MGM — which has more than 4,000 movies and 17,000 TV shows in its catalog — is a way to supercharge its Prime Video service with a slew of well-known entertainment titles. In addition, Amazon is anticipating being able to mine Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer properties like the Pink Panther, Rocky and, yes, the 007 franchises for new originals.

“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,” Mike Hopkins,
See full article at Variety »

Amazon & MGM Continuing Talks Puts Spotlight On Theatrical Distribution Of ‘No Time To Die’ & Upcoming Slate

  • Deadline
Amazon & MGM Continuing Talks Puts Spotlight On Theatrical Distribution Of ‘No Time To Die’ & Upcoming Slate
In the wake of Monday’s news that Amazon is making a go at MGM, it’s been radio silence. As of Friday, we hear that both sides remain actively in talks and want to get the deal done soon, but the time frame remains undefined.

With Amazon’s recent acquisition of big pics like Paramount’s Coming 2 America, and the studio’s Skydance co-productions The Tomorrow War and Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse, many sources tell us that the e-commerce giant’s absorption of the Lion studio won’t derail the MGM theatrical releases already scheduled for this year, as distributed by United Artists Releasing. Meaning, these titles won’t be acquired and strictly relegated to a streaming release like the Paramount crop. Theatrical P&a budgets for the MGM/Uar slate have been locked, is what we hear.

One source mentioned that some producers’ attorneys have already
See full article at Deadline »

Why the James Bond Franchise Complicates Amazon’s Talks to Acquire MGM

  • Variety
Why the James Bond Franchise Complicates Amazon’s Talks to Acquire MGM
Industry executives are stunned that Amazon is in negotiations to buy Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in a deal that could reach $9 billion. Their shock comes from a belief that the price tag severely overvalues the studio behind James Bond, the Pink Panther and “Legally Blonde.”

Other companies have kicked the tires on MGM at various points during a stop-and-start sales process that has been dragging on for months. Industry insiders say that the true value of the studio is more in the $5 billion to $6 billion range along with the assumption of some debt. Even then, they are skeptical that MGM’s prize asset, its stake in the 007 franchise, can be properly monetized.

That’s because of the unprecedented creative control that’s held by Eon Productions and its owner the Broccoli family, who have been stewards of the film series dating back to Bond’s first on-screen appearance in 1962’s “Dr. No.” Under
See full article at Variety »

Amazon Said to Make $9 Billion Offer for MGM

  • Variety
Amazon Said to Make $9 Billion Offer for MGM
Amazon is weeks into negotiations on a deal to acquire MGM for about $9 billion, industry sources tell Variety.

Chatter that Amazon (and other tech and media giants) have been sniffing around MGM has circulated for some time. But sources indicated that Amazon’s interest in acquiring the studio has taken on a new tenor beyond the usual rumor mill. The deal is said to be being orchestrated by Mike Hopkins, senior VP of Amazon Studios and Prime Video, directly with MGM board chairman Kevin Ulrich, whose Anchorage Capital is a major MGM shareholder.

Reps for Amazon and MGM declined to comment.

MGM had already effectively nailed up a “for sale” sign: Variety confirmed in December that the company was looking for a buyer.

News of Amazon’s talks with MGM began to swirl this weekend. The Information reported Monday that Amazon was in talks about a potential deal for MGM,
See full article at Variety »

Report says MGM exploring sale, hires investment banks

Report says MGM exploring sale, hires investment banks
Board chairman Kevin Ulrich said to be under pressure as investors look to sell stakes.

MGM has brought on two investment banks as it explores a possible sale, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

The studio has been linked with a sale for years and observers said talks could speed up in 2021, after the release of postponed James Bond saga No Time To Die.

Several years ago MGM held talks with Apple about a range of options, the WSJ said it has hired Morgan Stanley and LionTree.

Despite being a relative minnow in Hollywood with a reported
See full article at ScreenDaily »

MGM Taps Two Investment Banks To Explore Sale – Report

MGM Taps Two Investment Banks To Explore Sale – Report
MGM has tapped two investment banks and started a formal sale process, looking to generate heat from Hollywood studios, international conglomerates, private equity firms and the growing multitude of Spacs, according to a Wall Street Journal report citing people familiar with the matter.

Here’s what Deadline hears. The private company has mulled a sale for several years but couldn’t seem to find a fit on price. The board is certainly talking; MGM doesn’t have the scale to compete against the biggest studios, but could be a valuable piece for a bigger player. But right now, it’s only talk and we’d be surprised if they engaged bankers to hang a for sale sign anytime soon. It might be like the last report about a possible MGM-related transaction, which came when they tested the waters on possibly not waiting out the pandemic on the 007 film No Time to Die,
See full article at Deadline »

MGM Is Exploring a Sale of Its Studio

MGM Is Exploring a Sale of Its Studio
MGM Holdings Inc. is exploring a sale, according to a source close to the situation.

The studio believes its library of content — which includes co-ownership of the James Bond franchise — would be desirable to companies looking to expand their streaming sectors.

MGM has recruited Morgan Stanley and LionTree LLC to advise on the process of a formal sale, according to the Wall Street Journal. LionTree has worked with MGM in the past. Based on privately traded shares, the company has a market value of $5.5 billion, including debt.

MGM’s current top shareholder is the hedge fund Anchorage Capital, which is led by former Goldman Sachs executive Kevin Ulrich. Ulrich is also at the head of MGM’s board of directors.

MGM has a film library of over 4,000 titles and 17,000 hours of television programming, including film franchises like “Rocky” and “The Hobbit,” as well as television shows like “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Vikings.
See full article at Variety »

MGM Movie Studio Is Pursuing a Sale

MGM Movie Studio Is Pursuing a Sale
MGM Holdings Inc., the movie studio home of the James Bond franchise, is exploring a sale, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

The company, which has a market value of roughly $5.5 billion based on privately traded shares and debt, has hired Morgan Stanley and LionTree LLC to launch a formal sale process, unnamed individuals with knowledge of the plan told the Journal.

The storied studio has a rich library of movies and TV shows that could be attractive to both other studios and streaming services. In addition to the James Bond and “Rocky” franchises,” MGM produces TV hits such as “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Vikings.” The studio’s library includes a 4,000 film titles and 17,000 hours of TV programming.

A rep for MGM declined to comment on the report.

According to the Journal, the company’s biggest shareholder, Anchorage Capital Group, has been an increasingly tight financial bind because of its large stake in the studio,
See full article at The Wrap »

MGM Enlists Advisors to Explore Sale (Report)

MGM Enlists Advisors to Explore Sale (Report)
MGM appears to be getting closer to formally exploring a sale.

The Hollywood giant has enlisted Morgan Stanley and LionTree Lcc to serve as advisors in the process, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources. A studio spokesperson declined to comment on the article.

MGM’s top shareholder is Anchorage Capital, run by former Goldman Sachs exec Kevin Ulrich, who leads the studio’s board of directors. An Anchorage Capital rep did not respond to a request for comment.

The company has gone without a single CEO since March 2018 when Gary Barber, the Spyglass Entertainment founder who joined MGM after it ...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter »

Peter Bart: Troubled Times Might Demand More Exotic Solutions In Dealing With Corporate Cutbacks

Peter Bart: Troubled Times Might Demand More Exotic Solutions In Dealing With Corporate Cutbacks
Cordial yet reserved, the man seated across from me seemed well cast as a CEO. We had just attended a board meeting as “outside” directors, and he was mulling the big question: “How much disruption and cost cutting can you apply to a company, yet still keep it functional?”

With a shrug of resignation, he dug an envelope from his pocket. “The chairman told me this was a great problem-solver,” he said. Opening it, the scent announced weed; robust weed.

More about him later, but his question resonates today, as virtually every Hollywood company seems intent on restructuring itself. A scorecard is needed to understand the new reporting lines at Disney. WarnerMedia has fired respected figures like Bob Greenblatt and Kevin Reilly, along with echelons of marketing mavens. The latter is all in keeping with Jason Kilar’s determination to build a “consumer mind-set,” but a “survival mind-set” seems more in demand.
See full article at Deadline »

MGM Board Chair Kevin Ulrich Accused of Sexual Assault in Since-Dismissed Lawsuit

MGM Board Chair Kevin Ulrich Accused of Sexual Assault in Since-Dismissed Lawsuit
Kevin Ulrich, the chairman of the board at MGM and CEO of the hedge fund Anchorage Capital, was accused in a lawsuit earlier this year of sexually assaulting a woman, but she dropped her case a month later.

According to court documents obtained by TheWrap, Jennifer Perry said that Ulrich assaulted her at the Mercer Hotel in New York City on July 25, 2019. The lawsuit did not contain specific details about the alleged incident, except to say it “involved forceful physical contact and restraint” by Ulrich upon Perry.

The lawsuit was filed on June 2, 2020, and exactly one month later, an attorney for Perry filed for a dismissal without prejudice (meaning the case could not be re-filed).

A rep for MGM directed TheWrap’s inquiry to Anchorage Capital, who has not yet responded.

In his role as chairman of the board at MGM, Ulrich recently brought in Michael De Luca — a prolific
See full article at The Wrap »

MGM Board Chair Kevin Ulrich Accused of Sexual Battery in Now-Discontinued Lawsuit

  • Variety
MGM Board Chair Kevin Ulrich Accused of Sexual Battery in Now-Discontinued Lawsuit
Anchorage Capital CEO Kevin Ulrich was accused of sexually assaulting a New York woman in 2019, according to legal filings. His accuser, Jennifer Perry, discontinued the suit without prejudice a month later.

In addition to running hedge fund Anchorage, Ulrich also serves as chairman of the board at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the studio behind the James Bond film franchise. Institutional Investor first broke the news of the sexual battery accusations.

Representatives for Ulrich and Anchorage did not immediately respond to Variety‘s request for comment. Attorneys for Perry had no immediate response.

Perry alleged she was assaulted by Ulrich in his room at the Mercer Hotel on July 25, 2019, according the lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court in June. It was withdrawn on July 2.

“The conduct complained of involved physical behavior and contact of a non- consensual sexual nature,” the complaint reads. It goes on to state that Perry “was caused physical pain,
See full article at Variety »

Breaking Down MGM’s Costly ‘No Time to Die’ Dilemma

  • Variety
Breaking Down MGM’s Costly ‘No Time to Die’ Dilemma
In early October, with cases of Covid-19 rising in Europe, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer decided to pull the plug on its plans to release “No Time to Die” at Thanksgiving.

The studio had made a similar decision last March as coronavirus first gripped the world, pushing the release of the 25th James Bond adventure back by eight months only to discover that it hadn’t run far enough ahead of a worsening public health catastrophe. The move was financially painful, given that the studio had already spent $66 million in marketing costs. Bringing “No Time to Die” to the screen was already a pricey proposition — the film, which marks Daniel Craig’s final turn as 007, carried a $301 million net budget. Plus, Craig and producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, who control the rights to the series, have generous backend and profit participation deals, limiting the amount of money MGM is able to make on the movie.
See full article at Variety »
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