Defying a broadly held initial belief that it would be stymied by regulators, Amazon has successfully closed its $8.45 billion acquisition of MGM.
"The storied, nearly century-old studio — with more than 4,000 film titles, 17,000 TV episodes, 180 Academy Awards, and 100 Emmy Awards — will complement Prime Video and Amazon Studios' work in delivering a diverse offering of entertainment choices to customers," Amazon Studios and Prime Video chief Mike Hopkins said in a statement.
Amazon didn't announce any executives decisions or any details on how integration of the studio might work.
From the moment the deal was announced in May of last year, doubters suggested that the Federal Trade Commission, now under the watch of noted antitrust-buster Lina Kahn, would stand in the way.
But Amazon made a key strategic move, forcing the FTC last month to certify that it had provided all the antitrust information about the deal that had been requested of the company. That put the FTC on a short timeline to respond -- a deadline the federal agency ultimately couldn't meet -- and freed Amazon to move forward with its deal.
The FTC can still go after Amazon retroactively in court to try to unwind its MGM deal.
Just like the FCC, the FTC is deadlocked with two Democrats and two Republicans, with President Joe Biden nominee Alvaro Bedoya pending a full Senate vote on approval. This followed a 14-14 vote to approve his nomination in the Senate Commerce Committee earlier this month.
Thursday's deal closure announcement followed Tuesday's approval news from the European Commission, which said the deal "would not significantly reduce competition" and that "the overlaps between Amazon and MGM are limited."
“MGM has a nearly century-long legacy of producing exceptional entertainment, and we share their commitment to delivering a broad slate of original films and television shows to a global audience,” said Hopkins, whose title is senior VP of Prime Video and Amazon Studios. “We welcome MGM employees, creators, and talent to Prime Video and Amazon Studios, and we look forward to working together to create even more opportunities to deliver quality storytelling to our customers.”
Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos also lent word to his company's press release, nothing that Amazon will “help preserve MGM’s heritage and catalog of films, and to provide customers with greater access to these existing works.”
So how much does closure of an $8.45 billion deal move Amazon stock? Not much. The stock is up 1.28% as of afternoon trading on the Nasdaq Thursday. The company's market cap stands at around $1.578 trillion.
Amazon reported sales of $470 billion and a profit of $33 billion in 2021. ■
NEXT TV NEWSLETTER
The smarter way to stay on top of the streaming and OTT industry. Sign up below.
Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!