The Federal Trade Commission announced that it would conduct a review of Amazon’s $8.45B acquisition of MGM Studios for possible violations of federal antitrust regulations. The announcement came only one week after the U.S. Senate confirmed Lina Khan as the next Chairwoman of the FTC. The Biden administration appointee is well known for advocating that the government act restrain the growing influence of Amazon and other Big Tech giants on the U.S. economy and consumers.
Among its many other businesses, Amazon is already one of the largest providers of streaming entertainment with Amazon Prime Video, provided to members of its Amazon Prime shipping program. However, it has a modest library of film and series content when compared to other media giants such as Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, Comcast/NBCUniversal, and Netflix among others. Still, by adding MGM Studios to its arsenal, some financial analysts and industry experts have warned that Amazon would add a new resource allowing it to expand its dominant position with consumers.
This week Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter to Chairwoman Khan citing justification for the FTC to take an “all-encompassing” view of the acquisition. For its part, Amazon expressed concern that Khan would not be able to conduct a fair review of the matter and asked that she recuse herself from having a role in the agency’s upcoming review. Whatever the future holds for Amazon’s acquisition of MGM, what’s clear is that the tectonic plates continue to shift underneath the entertainment industry as the giants of the industry jockey for relative advantage and market share.