James Bond, Rocky and The Pink Panther have a new home. After last week’s official announcement on advanced negotiations, this Wednesday it was confirmed Amazon’s purchase of the historic Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for $ 8.45 billion, thus escalating in a relationship between both parties that had started in December, when MGM Holdings revealed that it had a deal with Amazon in its quest to have technology to “predict content display and sales trends so that they can forecast demand. from its vast library of content. “
Once the regulatory authorities approve the transaction – it is expected to take place before the end of the year – Jeff Bezos’ company will be able to inject into its catalog more than four thousand movies and 17 thousand hours of television carried out during the 96 years of study history. “The real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of intellectual property that we plan to reimagine and develop with the MGM team,” Amazon Vice President Mike Hopkins said in the accompanying statement.
The purchase makes both parties happy. Amazon, which is hit by the start of an investigation in Washington as a result of a possible monopoly in the field of e-commerce, it will increase the volume of a platform that has not inconsiderable 175 million subscribers around the world, but it already has rivals of the stature of Disney+, Netflix y HBO Max, which will arrive in Latin America on June 29, to which will be added the one arising from the merger of WarnerMedia, owner of CNN y HBO, with the group Discovery. Everyone has long known that the more voluminous the catalog, the longer each user spends on the site and, therefore, the higher the profits.
In this sense, a part of MGM’s productions brings together prestige and knowledge, two fundamental conditions in these times of the reign of streaming. A prestige given, in this case, by more than 180 Oscars y 100 Emmys in the showcases of the lion’s company. It is enough to remember that the agreement includes the series The Pink Panther, Fargo Y The Handmaid’s Tale and movies like Rocky, Twelve Warring Men, Legally Blonde, Robocop, Poltergeist, Rocky and the James Bond franchise. Amazon already sharpens the pencil to imagine new content destined to expand those universes already installed in the unconscious of several generations.
For the background Anchorage Capital, MGM’s main shareholder, means parting with a company that is coming tumbling since 2004, when it was acquired by Sony, TPG, Provindence Equity Partners and Comcast. Since then there was a bankruptcy in 2010 (raised thanks to a funding of 500 million from JP Morgan) and a handshake to shareholders. Although MGM has several films in its portfolio for the remainder of the year – a biopic of Aretha Franklin con Jennifer Hudson, House of Gucci, by Ridley Scott, and Soggy Bottom, by Paul Thomas Anderson, among others – 2020 ended with a $ 50 million debt. Those red numbers are mainly due to the postponement of the premiere of No Time to Die, the last adventure of Mr. Bond, which was going to hit theaters in April of last year but will only do so from next October.
The British agent was, precisely, one of the stars of the business. Spokesmen for other companies interested in MGM told the specialized portal Variety that the price should be between five and six billion dollars, including the payment of part of the debt, but the sum reached up to 8.45 billion, possibly because James Bond rights are shared with Eon Productions. The company headed by Barbara Broccoli –daughter of Albert, the original producer of the franchise– and her half-brother Michael G. Wilson has a tight control on all the spheres of these films, from the choice of the casting to the marketing, and is pointed out as the main responsible for the fact that Bond has not had more development and visibility in the age of streaming.
Will there be a thousand series about some 007 nephew drinking shaken, not stirred, martinis all over the world? It is true that Amazon has a much more fluid relationship than Netflix with the main cinema chains, but what will happen to the theatrical releases? And with those titles that are currently on another platform? Questions whose answers will come as the fine print of the contract is known.