European regulators approve Amazon-MGM deal

European regulators “unconditionally” approved Amazon’s planned $8.45 billion acquisition of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, James Bond’s home studio, the European Commission said in an announcement today.

The group “concluded that the transaction would raise no competition concerns in the European Economic Area,” the statement said. “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 U.S. Federal Trade Commission also is considering the deal. FTC approval would enable Amazon to complete the purchase. Amazon announced the planned acquisition last year.

MGM is owned by hedge funds. The studio has changed hands repeatedly for decades and underwent a bankruptcy in 2010.

MGM once was the biggest of the Hollywood studios. But it has been a lesser player for years. MGM’s financial travails also have affected the production of Bond films. MGM finances the 007 films produced by Eon Productions.

Amazon operates a major streaming service. Taking over MGM would secure programming. Eon has said repeatedly it wants Bond movies to continue to debut in theaters before going to streaming.

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