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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.

34 mins ago - World

Taliban: Executions and strict punishments will return

Taliban fighters in Kabul. Photo: Oliver Weiken/picture alliance via Getty Images

Strict punishments such as hand amputations and executions will return in Afghanistan, one of the Taliban's founders said in an interview with the Associated Press.

Why it matters: Despite attempting to project a new image, the Taliban remain committed to a hard-line, conservative ideology, including harsh ruling tactics.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Investors pour millions into immersive, interactive art experiences

Photo Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios. Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP via Getty Images

How much would you pay for "a sleek, if pleasantly confusing, package of moods" or "a confusing tangle of disjointed installations" or even "the total erosion of meaning itself"? The answer, according to the current market-clearing price, seems to be about $35.

Why it matters: Investors are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into ticketed experiences — immersive, interactive museum-like spaces that don't have the d0-not-touch stuffiness of traditional museums.