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Photo illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Amazon announced Wednesday it reached a deal to acquire MGM Studios for $8.45 billion, including debt. MGM is the home to several blockbuster franchises, including James Bond.

Why it matters: The deal — Amazon's second-largest acquisition ever, behind the $13.7 billion Whole Foods deal — represents a major milestone in the tech sector's push into entertainment.

Between the lines: MGM is a logical asset for Amazon to sweep up, given that it's one of the few remaining independent media assets available for purchase, alongside a handful of other studios and networks like Lionsgate and AMC Network.

  • Other tech giants like Apple and Netflix have reportedly eyed MGM, but ultimately passed on buying it. Tech companies have traditionally been hesitant to buy content companies that they could instead build themselves.
  • Amazon has already built its own movie studio, but the addition of MGM could strengthen it significantly increase the amount of content it would own and be able to license to other TV networks or streamers.

The big picture: The WarnerMedia-Discovery deal announced last week has sparked a frenzy among media companies looking to get even bigger to compete.

What to watch: While the Amazon deal is unlikely to face much antitrust scrutiny, policy experts expect it to heighten calls for antitrust legislation.

  • Some lawmakers already started weighing in amid rumors of the potential deal.
  • The news comes one day after D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon, alleging the e-commerce giant's anticompetitive pricing practices result in higher costs for consumers and less choice in the online retail market.

Go deeper

Aug 31, 2021 - Technology

Scoop: Amazon quietly building live audio business

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

Updated 10 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 13 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.