Amazon is reportedly several weeks into negotiations on a deal to buy MGM, the Hollywood studio behind the “James Bond” franchise, for between $7 billion and $10 billion.
The legendary studio — whose film and TV catalog includes everything from “Silence of the Lambs” to “Shark Tank” — has been up for sale since late last year, and has long been seen as a possible target for a tech giant.
But according to reports, the Seattle-based e-tailer’s interest in snapping up the studio has become serious, as Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service faces increasingly stiff competition with fast-growing rivals like Netflix and Disney+.
The deal is said to be orchestrated by Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Amazon Studios and Prime Video, directly with MGM board chairman Kevin Ulrich, whose Anchorage Capital is a major MGM shareholder, Variety said Tuesday.
Amazon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
MGM explored a sale late last year and tapped investment banks Morgan Stanley and LionTree and began a formal sale process. At the time, the company had a market value of around $5.5 billion based on privately traded shares and including debt.
The studio, which includes Oscar-winning flicks like “Rocky,” “Dances with Wolves” and “Rain Man,” as well as shows like “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Vikings,” became the subject of speculation this weekend. The Information reported Monday that Amazon was in talks about a potential deal for MGM, which could run between $7 billion and $10 billion. Some sources put the valuation at between $9 billion and $5 billion.
The news comes as Amazon is welcoming back Jeff Blackburn to run its entertainment unit. A seasoned Amazon vet who understands the Hollywood landscape, Blackburn surprised industry insiders when he returned to the company after just a five-week stint working in the venture capital world.