In the space of two weeks last month, Sony Pictures announced deals to license its movies to both Netflix and Disney. The deals complement each other: Netflix will show Sony movies soon after they’ve been in theaters and Disney will show them after they go off Netflix. One company conspicuously shut out of the deal was Amazon, which was also vying for rights to the Sony movies, according to a person familiar with the situation.
That previously unreported situation could help explain Amazon’s interest in buying MGM, as we reported earlier this week, in a deal likely to be worth between $7 billion and $10 billion. Sony was one of a dwindling number of Hollywood studios still willing to license its films to companies like Amazon, a result of most entertainment companies launching their own streaming services. With Sony’s content off the table for several years, MGM, which owns a library of 4,000 movies, including the Pink Panther, Rocky and James Bond titles and a TV production arm, likely looks much more appealing.