James Bond: Amazon announces it has purchased James Bond, legally Blonde and Shark Tank film studio MGM

Amazon is buying MGM, the movie and TV studio behind James Bond, Legally Blonde and Shark Tank, in an effort to fill out its video streaming service.

The online shopping giant is paying 8.45 billion dollars (£5.97 billion) for MGM, making it the company's second-largest acquisition after it bought grocer Whole Foods for nearly 14 billion dollars in 2017.

The deal is the latest in the media industry aimed at boosting streaming services to compete against Netflix and Disney+.

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FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2015, file photo, actor Daniel Craig poses for the media as he arrives for the German premiere of the James Bond movie 'Spectre' in Berlin, Germany. Amazon, on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, is buying MGM, the movie and TV studio behind James Bond with the hopes of filling its video streaming service with more stuff to watch. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)

AT&T and Discovery announced on May 17 that they would combine media companies, creating a powerhouse that includes HGTV, CNN, Food Network and HBO.

Amazon does not say how many people watch its Prime Video service, but more than 200 million have access to it because they are signed up for its Prime membership, which gives them faster delivery and other perks.

Besides Prime Video, Amazon also has a free streaming service called IMDb TV, where Amazon makes money by playing ads during movies and shows.

Buying MGM would give Amazon access to more films, shows and famous characters, including Rocky, RoboCop and Pink Panther. Amazon will also get a cable channel, Epix, which MGM owns.

MGM is one of the oldest Hollywood studios, founded in 1924 when films were silent, and has a long list of classics in its library, including Singin' In The Rain.

More recent productions include reality TV staples Shark Tank and The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills, as well as the upcoming James Bond movie No Time To Die and an Aretha Franklin biopic called Respect.

Amazon already has its own studio but has had mixed results. Two of its shows, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel and Fleabag, won best comedy series Emmys, but many of its films have failed to click with audiences at the box office.

Recently, Amazon has been spending on sports and splashy shows. It will stream Thursday Night Football next year and is producing a Lord Of The Rings show which reportedly cost 450 million dollars (£318 million) for its first season alone.

The deal, which is subject to customary approvals, will make Amazon, already one of the most powerful and valuable companies in the world, even bigger.

Regulators around the world are scrutinising the tech giant's business practices, specifically the way it looks at information from businesses that sell goods on its site and uses it to create its own Amazon-branded products.

A report by the US House Judiciary Committee in October called for a possible break-up of Amazon and others, making it harder for them to buy other businesses and imposing new rules to safeguard competition.

Amazon, founded in 1995 as an online bookstore, has become a 1.6 trillion dollar (£1.1 trillion) behemoth that does a little bit of everything.

It has a delivery business network that gets orders to people in two days or sooner; sells inhalers and insulin; has a cloud-computing business that powers the apps of Netflix and McDonald's; and has plans to send more than 3,200 satellites into space to beam internet service to Earth.

Reporting by PA

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