The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), headed by Lina Khan, an antitrust advocate and an Amazon critic, has opened a probe into Amazon’s $8.45 billion acquisition of movie and TV studio giant MGM.
According to a report in The Information on Friday, citing sources, the FTC probe is an “in-depth investigation into the deal.”
The investigation sets the stage for a lengthy probe that could last six months or more.
“It signals that the FTC, under the new leadership of Amazon critic Lina Khan, will take a hard line on even relatively small acquisitions by the e-commerce giant in industries where Amazon does not have a strong position,” the report emphasized.
Amazon was yet to react to the report.
Khan, the newly appointed chief of the FTC, is a strident Big Tech critic.
“Amazon’s business strategies and current market dominance pose anticompetitive concerns that the consumer welfare framework in antitrust fails to recognize,” wrote Lina Khan in the Yale Law School Journal.
The probe is part of increased antitrust scrutiny from the Joe Biden administration. Earlier on Friday, Biden signed the ‘Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy,’ with several provisions relating to net neutrality.
Amazon on May 26 announced to acquire movie giant MGM for $8.45 billion, at a time when the world’s largest telecommunication company AT&T has announced to merge WarnerMedia with Discovery to create a new media giant that will compete with leading streaming players like Netflix.
The report mentioned that the FTC is focused on “the larger implications of the deal for Amazon’s market power.”
“The FTC is wary of whether the deal will illegally boost Amazon’s ability to offer a wide array of goods and services, and is not just limited to content production and distribution,” it added.
Metro Goldwyn Mayer’s or MGM which has a century of filmmaking history, has a vast library of over 4,000 film titles, including 12 Angry Men, Basic Instinct, Creed, James Bond, Legally Blonde, Moonstruck, Poltergeist, Raging Bull, Robocop, Rocky, Silence of the Lambs, Stargate, Thelma & Louise, Tomb Raider, The Magnificent Seven, The Pink Panther, The Thomas Crown Affair, and many others.