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Amazon acquires movie giant MGM for $8.45 billion

San Francisco: Amazon on Wednesday announced to acquire movie giant MGM for $8.45 billion, at a time when the world’s largest telecommunication company AT&T has announced to merge WarnerMedia with Discovery to create a new media giant that will compete with leading streaming players like Netflix.

Metro Goldwyn Mayer’s or MGM which has a century of filmmaking history, has a vast library of over 4,000 film titles, including 12 Angry Men, Basic Instinct, Creed, James Bond, Legally Blonde, Moonstruck, Poltergeist, Raging Bull, Robocop, Rocky, Silence of the Lambs, Stargate, Thelma & Louise, Tomb Raider, The Magnificent Seven, The Pink Panther, The Thomas Crown Affair, and many others.

“MGM has a vast catalog with more than 4,000 films that have collectively won more than 180 Academy Awards and 100 Emmys,” said Mike Hopkins, Senior Vice President of Prime Video and Amazon Studios.

“The real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of IP in the deep catalog that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM’s talented team. It’s very exciting and provides so many opportunities for high-quality storytelling,” Hopkins said in a statement.

MGM has been up for sale since December 2020.

“I am very proud that MGM’s Lion, which has long evoked the Golden Age of Hollywood, will continue its storied history, and the idea born from the creation of United Artists lives on in a way the founders originally intended, driven by the talent and their vision,” said Kevin Ulrich, Chairman of the Board of Directors of MGM.

Last week, AT&T and Discovery announced a definitive agreement to combine WarnerMedias premium entertainment, sports and news assets with Discovery’s leading non-fiction and international entertainment and sports businesses to create a premier, standalone global entertainment company.

Under the terms of the agreement, AT&T would receive $43 billion (subject to adjustment) in a combination of cash, debt securities, and WarnerMedia’s retention of certain debt.

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WarnerMedia, Discovery form new leader in global entertainment space

AT&T and Discovery have announced a definitive agreement to combine WarnerMedias premium entertainment, sports and news assets with Discovery’s leading nonfiction and international entertainment and sports businesses to create a premier, standalone global entertainment company.

The “pure play” content company will own one of the deepest libraries in the world with nearly 200,000 hours of iconic programming and will bring together over 100 of the most cherished, popular and trusted brands in the world under one global portfolio, including HBO, Warner Bros., Discovery, DC Comics, CNN, Cartoon Network, HGTV, Food Network, the Turner Networks, TNT, TBS, Eurosport, Magnolia, TLC, Animal Planet, ID and many more.

Under the terms of the agreement, which is structured as an all-stock, Reverse Morris Trust transaction, AT&T would receive $43 billion in a combination of cash, debt securities, and WarnerMedia’s retention of certain debt. AT&T’s shareholders would receive stock representing 71 per cent of the new company; Discovery shareholders would own 29 per cent of the new company.

A statement said companies with shared values, complementary assets and iconic brands and franchises will offer the most differentiated content portfolio in the world. Also, WarnerMedia and Discovery Inc. form one of the largest global streaming players.

The new company will compete globally in the fast-growing direct-to-consumer business — bringing compelling content to DTC subscribers across its portfolios, including HBO Max and the recently launched discovery+.

The transaction will combine WarnerMedia’s storied content library of popular and valuable IP with Discovery’s global footprint, trove of local-language content and deep regional expertise across more than 200 countries and territories.

The new company will be able to invest in more original content for its streaming services, enhance the programming options across its global linear pay TV and broadcast channels, and offer more innovative video experiences and consumer choices.

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FCC head Ajit Pai welcomes move to boost 5G adoption in US

Washington: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai has applauded plans to auction off 100 megahertz (MHz) of mid-band spectrum in the country that will boost the 5G adoption in the US which is lagging behind China and South Korea.

The White House and Department of Defense said that the 3.45-3.55 GHz band (which is the mid-band spectrum) will be made available for next-generation, commercial wireless services.

“I commend the President and Department of Defense for today’s announcement that the 3.45-3.55 GHz band will be made available for commercial 5G deployment. This is a key milestone in securing United States leadership in 5G,” Pai said in a statement.

The US had dedicated 100 MHz of mid-band spectrum for military purposes to date.

The operators can now use the 5G spectrum in order to enhance the network coverage in the country. The FCC would auction this spectrum to Verizon Communications and AT&T from December 2021.

Mid-band spectrum is seen as vital for 5G, because it offers both geographic coverage and the capacity to transmit large amounts of data.

“Together with the spectrum being made available for 5G in the C-band as well as the 3.5 GHz band, we are now on track to have a 530-megahertz swath of mid-band spectrum available for 5G from 3.45 to 3.98 GHz, Pai informed.

US wireless industry group CTIA welcomed the announcement.

“Opening up this critical block of mid-band spectrum for full power commercial operations will enhance U.S. competitiveness in the 5G ecosystem,” CTIA said in a statement.

The US FCC in July designated Chinese telecom companies Huawei (a leader in 5G technology) and ZTE as national security risks to America’s communications networks.

According to a White House statement, the 100 megahertz of contiguous, coast-to-coast mid-band spectrum will be made available for commercial 5G deployment.

“This spectrum will give Americans access to the greatest 5G networks in the world, leading to cutting-edge innovation, economic prosperity, and strong national security,” said the White House.

The US wireless industry will be able to build and operate 5G networks nationwide using the 3.45-3.55 GHz band.

In March, Trump issued the ‘National Strategy to Secure 5G’, which outlined his vision for America to lead the development, deployment, and management of secure and reliable 5G communications infrastructure worldwide.

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AT&T plans to cut 3,400 jobs, shuts down 250 stores

San Francisco: AT&T plans to cut over 3,400 technician and clerical jobs across the country over the next few weeks, the US wireless carrier has informed its main labour union, the Communications Workers of America.

In addition, the company plans to permanently shutter over 250 AT&T Mobility and Cricket Wireless stores, impacting 1,300 retail jobs, CWA said.

These cuts come amid devastations caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“AT&T could help lead the country toward recovery by partnering with its workforce to build next generation networks. Instead the company is adding to the pain of the recession already underway,” CWA President Chris Shelton said in a statement.

The employees who will be impacted by the job cuts will receive severance pay and health insurance coverage for up to six months, according to AT&T, CNET reported.

The impacted retail employees will receive the offer of another position at the company, said the report.

“I want to know where these jobs are going,” said Joe Snyder, President of CWA Local 4302 in Akron, Ohio who has been an AT&T technician for 25 years.

“From where we sit, it looks like AT&T is pushing the work to low-paid contractors who do not have the same training, experience, and commitment as CWA members. The money they are saving goes into the pockets of wealthy shareholders looking for short-term profits instead of staying here in our communities.”

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