(AP) — Amazon
is acquiring MGM
, the film and television
studio behind James Bond, “Legally Blonde,” and “Shark
Tank,” in order to expand its video streaming service.
Amazon is paying $8.45 billion for MGM, making it the company's second-largest acquisition after Whole Foods in 2017.
and Discovery announced on May 17 that they would combine media
companies, creating a powerhouse that includes HGTV, CNN
, Food Network, and HBO
Amazon does not disclose the number of people
who use its Prime Video service, but more than 200 million have access to it as part of their Prime membership, which includes faster shipping and other perks. In addition to Prime Video, Amazon has a free streaming service called IMDb TV, where Amazon earns money
by playing ads during movies
Amazon will gain access to more films, shows, and famous characters, including Rocky, RoboCop, and Pink
Panther, as well as a cable channel owned by MGM, Epix.
MGM, known for its roaring lion logo, is one of the oldest Hollywood
studios, having been founded in 1924 when films were silent, and has a long list of classics in its library, including "Singin' in the Rain." More recent productions include reality TV staples "Shark Tank" and "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," as well as the upcoming James Bond film "No Time to Die" and an Aretha Franklin biopic called
Amazon already has its own studio, but its results have been mixed. Two of its shows, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Fleabag,” won Emmys for best comedy
series. Although it has won several Oscars
, most recently for “Sound of Metal,” many of its films have failed to connect with audiences at the box office.
The transaction, which is subject to customary approvals, will enlarge Amazon, which is already one of the most powerful and valuable companies in the world. Regulators around the world are scrutinizing Amazon's business
practices, specifically how it looks at information from businesses that sell goods on its site and uses it to create its own Amazon-branded products.
In October, the House Judiciary Committee issued a report calling for Amazon and other companies to be broken up, making it more difficult for them to acquire other companies and imposing new competition rules.
Amazon, which began as an online bookstore in 1995, has grown into a $1.6 trillion behemoth that does a little bit of everything: it has a delivery business network that gets orders to people in two days or less; it sells inhalers and insulin; it has a cloud-computing business that powers Netflix
's apps; and it has plans to launch more than 3,200 satellites into space
to provide internet service.