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FTC to review Amazon’s acquisition of MGM: report

The Federal Trade Commission is expected to probe Amazon’s proposed $8.45 billion acquisition of MGM. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that, according to sources familiar with the matter, the FTC ...
June 24, 2021

The Federal Trade Commission is expected to probe Amazon’s proposed $8.45 billion acquisition of MGM.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that, according to sources familiar with the matter, the FTC secured the right to review the deal during recent interagency negotiations. The commission pushed for jurisdiction over the review, sources told the WSJ, as it is already undertaking an antitrust investigation into Amazon’s business practices.

Just last week, Lina Khan was sworn in as chair of the FTC.

“It is a tremendous honor to have been selected by President Biden to lead the Federal Trade Commission,” Khan said in a statement on June 15. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to protect the public from corporate abuse.”

Khan, formerly an associate professor of law at Columbia Law School, previously served as counsel to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on antitrust, commercial and administrative law, legal adviser to FTC commissioner Rohit Chopra and legal director of the Open Markets Institute.

In 2017, she wrote “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox” for The Yale Law Journal, noting that elements of Amazon’s “structure and conduct pose anticompetitive concerns — yet it has escaped antitrust scrutiny.”

She argued, “Amazon’s business strategies and current market dominance pose anticompetitive concerns that the consumer welfare framework in antitrust fails to recognize.”

In response to a request for comment from Realscreen, an FTC spokesperson said: “The FTC does not confirm the existence of investigations, and we have no further comment on this.”

Amazon and MGM did not immediately respond to request for comment.


Related: How M&A’s next wave is reshaping the unscripted content industry


MGM, beyond its massive scripted film and television inventory, is the parent company of cable net Epix and MGM TV. Led by reality veteran Mark Burnett, MGM Worldwide Television Group chairman, the TV unit is behind such unscripted hits as Survivor, The Voice , Shark Tank and Beat Shazam.

At the time of the deal, Amazon stated MGM’s catalog of films — a portfolio that includes Gone With the Wind, the Rocky and Hobbit franchises and co-ownership of the James Bond franchise — will complement Amazon Studios’ TV work.

“MGM has a vast catalog with more than 4,000 films” Mike Hopkins, SVP of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, had said in a statement. “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.”

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