Sen. Amy Klobuchar calls on Justice Department to probe Amazon-MGM deal

Sen. Amy Klobuchar calls on Justice Department to probe Amazon-MGM deal

MGM: Amazon announced on Tuesday that it had reached an agreement to buy the film and television behemoth MGM for $8.45 billion — and leading antitrust figures in Congress aren’t happy.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) raised concerns about the size and scope of the deal in a letter today, urging the Justice Department to investigate it before it is finalized.

“This is a significant acquisition with the potential to affect millions of consumers,” the senator said in a statement released Wednesday.

“The Department of Justice must conduct an extensive investigation to ensure that this transaction will not jeopardize competition.” Klobuchar chairs the Senate committee in charge of overseeing competition in digital markets.

The Justice Department did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

MGM is responsible for some of the most well-known Hollywood franchises, such as the James Bond and Rocky libraries. The merger agreement indicates that Amazon is serious about expanding its current media empire.

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The majority of Amazon Prime subscribers, over 175 million out of the 200 million or so, have used the company’s Prime Video service to watch content. Hundreds of new films and TV shows would be added to the library as a result of the merger.

Democrats aren’t the only ones concerned about Amazon’s new acquisition. Republicans such as Rep. Ken Buck (CO) and Sen. Josh Hawley (MO) have said Amazon should not be allowed to buy the media company.

“This transaction should not go through. Amazon already has a monopoly platform in e-commerce, shipping, groceries, and the cloud. They should not be allowed to purchase anything else. In a tweet on Wednesday, Hawley stated, “Period.”

Buck agreed with Hawley’s statement and quote-tweeted it. A spokesperson for Buck confirmed to The Verge on Wednesday that he did not believe the merger should go forward.

“Rep. Buck is extremely concerned about Amazon’s extensive monopoly power, which continues to grow through acquisitions,” a Buck spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge on Wednesday.

“He is also dissatisfied with the FTC’s lack of scrutiny and failure to enforce antitrust laws adequately over the last decade.”

In recent years, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have conducted extensive investigations into Big Tech companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. Because of a long-running feud between founder Jeff Bezos and former President Donald Trump, Amazon has been a particular lightning rod for Republicans.

Amazon was served with its first major antitrust lawsuit by DC Attorney General Karl Racine on Tuesday. The lawsuit accuses Amazon of stifling competition and imposing stringent conditions on third-party sellers and how they price their products.

“The DC Attorney General has it exactly backwards – sellers set their own prices for the products they offer in our store,” said an Amazon spokesperson in a statement in response to the lawsuit on Wednesday.

“Amazon takes pride in offering low prices across the widest selection, and we reserve the right, like any store, not to highlight offers to customers that are not priced competitively.”

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