Amazon to buy MGM for $8.45 billion

Officials on Wednesday announced that Amazon will buy MGM, the movie and TV studio behind the James Bond franchise, “Legally Blonde,” and “The Handmaid’s Tale,” for $8.45 billion as the online shipping giant looks to expand its streaming entertainment options.

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The deal, which is subject to regulatory approvals, will give Amazon access to MGM’s catalog, including “Silence of the Lambs,” “Tomb Raider,” “The Pink Panther,” and more than 4,000 other films and 17,000 TV shows. It would make MGM the second-largest acquisition made by Amazon, after the company bought the Whole Foods grocery chain for nearly $14 billion in 2017.

“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, senior vice president of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, said Wednesday in a news release. “It’s very exciting and provides so many opportunities for high-quality storytelling.”

Known for its roaring lion logo, MGM is one of Hollywood’s oldest studios. It was founded in 1924, when films were still silent, though The New York Times noted that most of the company’s pre-1986 film library -- including “Singin’ in the Rain” and “The Wizard of Oz” -- were sold off decades earlier.

The price tag announced Wednesday was about 40% higher than other prospective buyers, including Apple and Comcast, thought the company was worth, according to the Times. It is the latest move in the media industry aimed at bolstering competition with streaming services like Netflix, Disney+ and Paramount, according to The Associated Press and The Washington Post. AT&T and Discovery announced on May 17 that they would combine media companies, creating a powerhouse that includes HGTV, CNN, Food Network and HBO.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.