According to The Information, the Federal Trade Commission has begun a probe into Amazon’s acquisition of MGM. The study is described as an “in-depth investigation into the deal” by The Information, implying that it will take months to complete. The inquiry also implies that the acquisition will be investigated by a new FTC commission led by Lina Khan, an antitrust lawyer and Amazon critic.
According to The Information, the FTC is concerned about “the larger implications of the deal for Amazon’s market power,” and that “the FTC is wary of whether the deal will illegally boost Amazon’s ability to offer a wide range of goods and services, and is not just limited to content production and distribution.”
On May 26th, Amazon revealed that it had signed an agreement to buy MGM, the studio behind the James Bond brand, for $8.45 billion, although the acquisition was widely expected to be scrutinized by the government. The Wall Street Journal reported on June 22nd that the inquiry was underway, and Senator Elizabeth Warren, in a letter sent to Khan and shared exclusively with The Verge, urged the agency to conduct a “rigorous” probe of the purchase.
The Federal Trade Commission has declined to comment, and Amazon has yet to respond to a request for comment.
The investigation is the latest indicator of the Biden administration’s heightened antitrust monitoring. Khan has been a long-time critic of Amazon, including a paper for the Yale Law Journal in 2017 titled “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox” that was well-received in progressive economic policy circles. (Amazon, predictably, is not a fan of Khan and has filed a recusal motion asking her to stay out of Amazon-related hearings.)
Biden signed an executive order on Friday aimed at promoting competition, including right-to-repair standards, net neutrality, and other issues.