MGM, the studio behind James Bond, goes up for sale. Will Apple bite?

Does Apple TV+ have James Bond in its sights?
Photo: MGM Studios

MGM, the movie studio that owns the James Bond franchise, is supposedly up for sale — and The Wall Street Journal says some “big technology companies [are] logical buyers.”

Apple has previously been reported as expressing interest in acquiring the James Bond movies, and has held talks about purchasing MGM.

In 2017, it was reported that Apple TV+ execs Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht were leading Apple’s attempts to buy the James Bond franchise. Then, earlier this year, Apple supposedly made an offer to buy upcoming movie No Time to Die after COVID-19 scuppered its theatrical launch. Apple was apparently willing to pay up to $400 million for the movie. However, MGM wanted more.

The new WSJ report notes that:

“In 2018, MGM fired its then-chief executive, Hollywood veteran Gary Barber, for having early, unsanctioned conversations with Apple Inc. to sell the studio for more than $6 billion. The preliminary talks fell apart when he was ousted. MGM board chairman Kevin Ulrich, co-founder of Anchorage, told studio investors at the time he could sell MGM for more than $8 billion in two to three years.”

MGM: A bargain for Apple?

The WSJ suggests that MGM has a market value today of around $5.5 billion. That would make it the most money Apple has ever paid in an acquisition, beating the $3 billion it paid for Beats several years back. But it would certainly be an aggressive move when it comes to the future of Apple TV+. It would also be a bargain next to what Apple may have been willing to pay in the past.

Monday’s WSJ report notes that MGM has previously produced or distributed the Rocky movies, and has licenses including Silence of the Lambs, Dances With Wolves, Rain Man and The Terminator. It’s not clear how many of these would pass over to a new company to be able to distribute or make new installments of. But MGM would certainly be a massive acquisition for Apple.

Any bets on whether this happens? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.