Amazon closes deal to buy MGM film studio

Online retailer says it will welcome all MGM employees, indicating there would not be layoffs

MGM bolsters Amazon Prime Video's offering with more than 4,000 film titles. AFP

Amazon on Thursday said it had closed its $8.5 billion deal to buy film studio MGM, combining the fabled movie maker behind Rocky and James Bond with the online retailing company as it looks to draw consumers through more streaming video.

In a statement, Amazon said it would welcome all MGM employees to the company and work with the studio's leadership, indicating there would not be layoffs.

Its decision to close comes after a deadline passed for the US Federal Trade Commission to challenge the deal.

The Seattle-based retailer announced the transaction in May 2021, saying MGM offered a trove of content to draw consumers to its fast-shipping and streaming club Prime, which costs $14.99 per month in the US.

About a year later, Amazon is clear of regulatory hurdles. The European Commission approved the deal Tuesday, with no conditions and Amazon earlier informed the FTC that it had “substantially complied” with requests for information about the deal.

The FTC declined to comment.

Amazon said MGM's staff will join the organisation of Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Prime Video and Amazon Studios.

MGM bolsters Amazon Prime Video's offering with more than 4,000 film titles, as well as this year's Oscar-nominated Licorice Pizza and a long list of television shows that may help Amazon compete with streaming rivals Netflix and Disney+.

Mr Hopkins praised MGM's “broad slate of original films and television shows".

“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,” he said.

The FTC has a broader investigation open into Amazon as part of government antitrust investigations begun under the administration of former president Donald Trump into the four big tech platforms, including Facebook and Google.

Updated: March 18, 2022, 4:29 AM