Sen. Elizabeth Warren called for “meticulous antitrust scrutiny” of Amazon’s $8.5 billion acquisition of MGM Studios, warning that it could crush competition.
“Amazon’s proposed acquisition of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM) could harm consumers and workers and reduce innovation by inhibiting competition in numerous markets,” the Massachusetts Democrat wrote in a Tuesday letter to Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan.
The newly confirmed FTC head, a renowned big tech opponent, is already reportedly investigating the transaction, Amazon’s biggest acquisition since it bought Whole Foods for $13.7 billion in 2017.
The MGM deal would give the Seattle-based e-tailer headed by Jeff Bezos control over MGM’s library of more than 4,000 films and 17,000 hours of television, including “The Handmaid’s Tale,” the James Bond and Rocky movie franchises and reality shows “Shark Tank” and “The Apprentice.”
An Amazon spokesperson told The Post that buying MGM will provide more choice to consumers by bolstering competition among producers of film and television. But Warren slammed the acquisition as part of a broader pattern of anti-competitive behavior by Amazon.
“I urge you to use the FTC’s broad authority under this law to assess the possible anticompetitive effects this deal will have on streaming services and entertainment products in addition to the broader impacts that this transaction may have on workers, small businesses, and competition overall as Amazon — which is already the dominant e-commerce firm — accelerates its aggressive monopolistic behavior,” Warren wrote in her letter to Khan, which was first reported by the Verge.
Amazon is primarily an e-commerce company, but has branched out into media in recent years. The company recently inked an $11 billion deal with the NFL to become the new home of “Thursday Night Football.”
Amazon’s Prime membership program — which includes streaming content from Amazon Prime video — currently has about 150 million members in the US.
The FTC has reviewed a slew of big media deals in recent years, including Disney’s $71 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox and AT&T’s $85 billion merger with Time Warner, which the department unsuccessfully tried to block in court.
With Will Feuer and Alexandra Steigrad