Major Hollywood Takeovers And Mergers In 2021
With big companies entering the lucrative entertainment industry, it has led to a brewing war for dominance. The streaming platform wars are getting more competitive as media companies try to establish their dominance in the market. The past couple of years have seen several mergers that have leveraged the brands to offer better services. Disney is the biggest player and overtook 21st Century Fox and Hulu to merge with its streaming platform Disney+. Comcast, who bought NBC Universal, has also merged with British broadcaster Sky as it started the streaming platform Peacock, named after NBC Universal’s logo. These mergers were primarily aimed to dethrone the giants in the industry like Netflix.
The near future doesn’t look any different from the past merger, as Silicon Valley has shown keen interest in stepping into the entertainment industry world. The consolidated projects are far from over as people have taken a prime interest in online services and shifted the entire history of content viewing. The streaming will slow down once the options get narrow as big companies gobble up media companies to gain access to better catalogs to stream content. It is difficult to figure out which industry giant will come out on top and leave a legacy. Here are the three major Hollywood Sales that happened in 2021.
Hello Sunshine And Blackstone Group
Hello Sunshine is a media company owned by actress Reese Witherspoon who started it in 2016 and a few notable investors. The company is a platform that provides women a platform to showcase their stories through television shows, movies, websites, social media platforms, and newsletters. Some of the most successful films and television shows produced by the company are Wild, Gone Girl, and Big Little Lies. Hello Sunshine has also created content for streaming services like Apple+ and Hulu.
As mentioned by Variety, in August 2021, Hello Sunshine was sold upwards of $900 million to a Blackstone-backed venture that wanted to merge to create more stories about women. Reese Witherspoon and CEO of Hello Sunshine Sarah Harden will remain a part of the Board of Directors of the new business to offer creative inputs for future endeavors and take care of the company’s daily operations. The main reason for the venture to buy Hello Sunshine was the visible brand recognition as Reese Witherspoon is the brand ambassador and a highly successful actress.
Amazon And MGM studios
Amazon made a bold move in the industry when it recently bought MGM Studios for $8.45 billion, as stated by CNBC. The move came after Amazon decided to strengthen its streaming platform by adding well-established studio movies to their platform. As the competition heated up with Netflix, Disney, and other streaming services, Amazon needed a stronger catalog. MGM Studios has produced some of the most successful and critically-acclaimed movies the world has ever seen, from old classics like Gone With The Wind, Wizard Of Oz, and The Pink Panther to recent favorites like the James Bond franchise.
The deal is the second-largest Amazon acquisition, with the first being Whole Foods that Amazon purchased for $13.7 billion. According to Forbes, Amazon will now have access to over 4,000 television shows and films that have earned a total of 100 Emmy Awards and 180 Academy Awards. Amazon has plans to reimagine the media company’s vision and develop the brand alongside the well-established MGM team.
RELATED: Amazon Buys MGM For $8.45 Billion
AT&T, WarnerMedia, And Discover
AT&T announced its plans to merge its media platform WarnerMedia with Discover in May 2021. This move comes as the company plans to create a media conglomerate with platforms such as HBO, Warner Bros., and lifestyle shows from Discovery under a single umbrella. AT&T will acquire the company for $130 billion, including debt and WarnerMedia’s value of $90 billion, as noted by Bloomberg Quint. The merger will give a chance for the company to compete against the streaming giants like Netflix, Disney, and the newest Amazon-MGM merger.
Since the standard media landscape has moved from traditional TV shows and channels to streaming services, brands are converging with online platforms to survive in the cutthroat industry. With several popular brands like HBO, DC Comics, TLC, Animal Planet, the merged companies will have a combined 200,000 hours of content to be streamed. Currently, both entities are offering streaming services: HBO Max and Discovery Plus, but it will likely change once the merger has been completed. AT&T Shareholders will possess 71% rights to the company, while Discovery will have a 29% stake in the newly-merged business. The merged entities will be led by David Zaslav, the President and CEO of Discovery.
As the competition narrows, it is likely that large production houses like Lionsgate and Viacom CBS+ may merge to give rise to another opponent in the industry. The entertainment industry’s power grows concentrated with the battle for the best, and it would be tough to guess which player survives and which falls back.
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Source: Variety, CNBC, Forbes, Bloomberg Quint
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