The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has opened a formal investigation in Amazon’s $8.45B acquisition of MGM Studios. In its May 26th announcement of the acquisition, the company explained that consumers would benefit because, “Amazon will help preserve MGM’s heritage and catalog of films, and provide customers with greater access to these existing works.” On the other hand, the FTC review will focus on whether Amazon may use its newfound strength in entertainment to increase its dominant position in other markets, thereby limiting competition and customer choice overall.
Lina Khan, the newly confirmed Chair of the FTC, has published a critique of Amazon for its unfair trade practices, in a 2017 article published in the Yale Law Review entitled “Amazon Antitrust Paradox”. Earlier this month, Amazon filed a motion requesting that Khan recuse herself from having any role in the agency’s review of the matter, claiming that she has a well-documented bias against the company. President Joe Biden signed an executive order this week with the goal of reigning in anti-competitive practices by tech giants and other dominant players in the U.S. economy. Biden explained during a press conference to announce the initiative, “Capitalism without competition is exploitation”.
See also: Biden targets big tech in executive order aimed at anti-competitive practices (The Guardian)