Amazon and MGM merge in $8.5 billion deal

This merger comes shortly after Amazon raised the price of its Prime membership for the first time since 2018

By Kelly McClure

Nights & Weekends Editor

Published March 17, 2022 7:16PM (EDT)

Jeff Bezos (Getty/Photo Montage by Salon)
Jeff Bezos (Getty/Photo Montage by Salon)

Amazon finalized an $8.5 billion merger deal on Thursday for the acquisition of MGM, folding their vast catalog of film and TV into the already massive scroll of Amazon Studios and Amazon Prime offerings. 

According to an Amazon spokesperson sourced by Deadline, Amazon plans to welcome all of MGM's existing employees, and aside from Mike Hopkins staying on as Senior Vice President of Amazon Studios and Amazon Prime, no further announcement has been given as to how, or if, things will restructure moving forward to include MGM upper-level management in the merger.

Related: Amazon walkout: Dozens of warehouse workers protest low pay and bad working conditions

"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. "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 Studios and Prime Video are part of the same Amazon division that also includes their podcast, music, audio books and video games, all led by Jeff Blackburn who heads up Global Media & Entertainment for Amazon. According to Variety Blackburn was an executive for Amazon for decades and parted ways with the company in February 2021 to join Bessemer Venture Partners, only to return later that summer to take on the position as head of Global Media & Entertainment.

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 "This deal is the first in a long-anticipated marriage of deep-pocketed big tech players and Hollywood," says Jill Goldsmith for Deadline.

"MGM has been responsible for the creation of some of the most well-known and critically acclaimed films and television series of the past century," says Chris Brearton, chief operating officer of MGM. "We look forward to continuing that tradition as we head into this next chapter, coming together with the great team at Prime Video and Amazon Studios to provide audiences with the very best in entertainment for years to come."

MGM brings with them power-punching titles such as "The Wizard of Oz," "Singin' In The Rain, "Ben Hur," and the James Bond franchise. 

"At one time, MGM was the most prestigious studio in Hollywood," Leonard Maltin, a film critic and historian, told CNN Business. "It had a glory period that ran for decades."

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By Kelly McClure

Kelly McClure is Salon's Nights and Weekends Editor covering daily news, politics and culture. Her work has been featured in Vulture, The A.V. Club, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, Nylon, Vice, and elsewhere. She is the author of Something is Always Happening Somewhere.

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