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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 32 mins ago - World

Biden cleans up comments about Russia invading Ukraine

Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

President Biden sought to clarify his suggestion that a "minor incursion" by Russia into Ukraine may not draw the same response as a large invasion, telling reporters Thursday that "Russia will pay a heavy price" if any troops cross the border.

Why it matters: Some officials in Kyiv saw Biden's comments as inviting Russian aggression.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
45 mins ago - Health

Study finds bias against Black patients written into medical charts

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Black patients were more than two-and-a-half times as likely as white patients to have negative descriptors about them in their electronic health record, according to a study published Wednesday in Health Affairs.

Why it matters: The study is further evidence of bias in the U.S. health care system, which can ultimately result in worse care and disparately poor outcomes.