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European regulators have given Amazon’s $8.45 billion acquisition of MGM the green light, clearing a key hurdle for the pending merger.
Regulators said that the deal “would not significantly reduce competition” and that “the overlaps between Amazon and MGM are limited.”
“The Commission found that MGM’s films represent only a limited share of box office revenues in the EEA and that overall MGM is not among the top production studios, despite its rights over successful film franchises such as James Bond,” the European Commission said in its approval.
“We’re pleased with the Commission’s decision and, with MGM, look forward to providing more choice of quality entertainment for viewers,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement.
The E.U. competition authority had a provisional deadline of March 15 to decide on the deal, ultimately opting to sign off. But the biggest hurdle for Amazon may be the decision from U.S. authorities, who will have to decide whether to challenge the deal this month to meet statutory deadlines.
Amazon announced its purchase of MGM, one of Hollywood’s oldest studios, last May. Then-CEO Jeff Bezos told shareholders that the move was made because of MGM’s “vast, deep catalog of much-beloved intellectual property,” which “we can reimagine and develop that IP for the 21st century.”
MGM properties include the Rocky/Creed franchise, The Silence of the Lambs, Stargate, and one-half of James Bond. The big question surrounding the purchase is whether Amazon intends to invest in the studio (including a commitment to release films in theaters and sell shows to other streaming services or networks), or simply mine the IP for its own platforms.
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