Amazon-MGM deal could get regulatory OK soon

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Amazon is reportedly “days away” from getting the OK to close on its previously announced acquisition of MGM.

The $8.5 billion deal was originally announced back in May 2021 and the deadline for U.S. and European regulators to make a call on antitrust issues is approaching quickly.

If the deal is approved, it’s not clear how long it might before be the transaction officially takes place.

Amazon would presumably move to absorb MGM content into its Prime Video service, though WarnerMedia owns the rights to the studio’s pre-1986 film and TV library, much of which is shown on Turner Classic Movies.

This would exclude big titles such as “The Wizard Of Oz,” “Singin’ In The Rain” and “2001: A Space Odyssey,” but would make Amazon owner of James Bond films and “Rocky.”

MGM no longer owns any major backlot facilities so Amazon wouldn’t acquire any significant production real estate that could be used to produce original content going forward. Amazon typically leases or rents soundstages or backlot space around the world for its in house productions.

Amazon has continued to invest billions of dollars per year to produce original content for its streaming service, which is available through its Prime membership program. That program costs $139 a year when prepaid or about $11.59 a month, which is a bit cheaper that streaming leader Netflix.

Prime does include a handful of other services, including free expedited shipping benefits, so it’s a bit hard to compare it to a content only service such as Netflix.

However, Amazon likely sees content as a way to attract users to sign up for Prime and then counts on those users to buy products on its ecommerce site, including its own branded devices.