Disruptive Deals: Amazon, MGM, Nielsen

On March 17, Amazon Studios and Prime Video welcomed MGM into their fold for $8.5 billion dollars. We previously reported on Jeff Bezos’s’ statement, that Amazon will “reimagine and develop” content from the 98-year old library. Amazon is making no commitments to theatrical windows, and is keeping options open with respect to delivering content on its platforms. MGM, through its UA releasing joint venture with Annapurna and Amazon each have respective distribution operations with domestic box office in 2021 over $300mm dollars. Amazon will now be able to stream MGM properties from May 1986 forward on Prime Video. What about the first six decades of MGM classic movies? Warner Bros. Discovery owns those. One month after the merger, leadership changed and former MGM execs will depart this summer, giving way to what some are calling the Amazon-era of MGM.

A group of private equity firms, including Evergreen Coast Capital Corporation (parent company Elliott Investment Management) and Brookfield Business Partners, L.P., and their institutional partners agreed to buy Nielsen Holdings Plc (“Nielsen”) for $16 billion dollars. The consortium will invest $2.65 billion dollars in preferred equity, convertible into 45% of Nielsen’s common equity. The equity version of the deal is worth over $10 billion dollars, with the remainder in debt held by Nielsen. The deal will take the company private and its new owners endeavor to repair its measurement system (and its reputation). Some of Nielsen’s customers are asking for data in terms of how content is being viewed not only who is viewing content. So whether people are viewing content on mobile devices over television sets, analog versus digital, the system will account. Meanwhile, Warner Bros. Discovery, Paramount Global, and NBCUniversal have all expressed interest in creating their own version of the ubiquitous ratings system. Key is development of new platform, Nielsen One, which will provide reach and frequency metrics across linear programming, streaming, connected TV, and digital channels. Nielsen has about $3.5 billion dollars in global annual revenue; the deal is anticipated to close in the second half of 2022.

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