January 18, 2022

Amazon’s Planned Purchase of MGM to Be Reviewed by FTC

WASHINGTON—The Federal Trade Commission will be the agency to review

Amazon.

AMZN 1.41%

com Inc.’s proposed acquisition of Hollywood studio MGM, according to people familiar with the matter, just as the commission gets a new chairwoman who has been critical of the online giant’s expansion.

Amazon last month announced its deal for MGM, which would boost its Prime Video streaming platform in a market that includes rivals such as

Netflix Inc.

and

Walt Disney Co.

MGM has a library of more than 4,000 films, including the James Bond franchise, and a TV catalog that includes “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Vikings.”

Companies doing sizable mergers have to submit their deals for government antitrust review. The FTC shares antitrust authority with the Justice Department, and the two agencies split up the work of reviewing proposed deals. The department has recently reviewed transactions involving video content, including Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox and

AT&T Inc.’s

acquisition of Time Warner, a deal the department unsuccessfully attempted to block in court.

During recent interagency negotiations, the FTC secured the right to review the Amazon-MGM deal, the people familiar with the matter said. The FTC pushed for jurisdiction over the merger review because it already has an open, wide-ranging antitrust investigation into Amazon’s business practices, the people said.

The FTC and the Justice Department previously agreed to divide up investigations of four leading tech giants’ conduct, with the department taking

Alphabet Inc.’s

Google and

Apple Inc.,

while the FTC took

Facebook Inc.

and Amazon.

An Amazon spokesman had no immediate comment. An FTC spokeswoman declined to comment.

MGM’s library of more than 4,000 films is expected to boost Amazon’s Prime Video streaming platform.



Photo:

Eric Thayer/Bloomberg News

The MGM review could present an early test for new FTC Chairwoman

Lina Khan,

who made her name in antitrust circles in large part by criticizing Amazon. She wrote a widely read law-review article while at Yale Law School that argued U.S. antitrust law has failed to restrain the online retailer.

Ms. Khan more broadly has argued that antitrust enforcement needs far-reaching changes to better restrain dominant companies. She won Senate confirmation last week to be an FTC commissioner, and President

Biden

then immediately designated her as chairwoman.

Amazon is a growing producer of its own video content and has become an aggressive buyer of sports rights including those for the National Football League. But it still has a relatively modest library compared with traditional media giants.

MGM is now one of the smaller studios in Hollywood, meaning the tie-up isn’t necessarily the kind of transaction that in the past would have raised immediate red flags about anticompetitive concentration. But in light of Amazon’s broader marketplace footprint, the addition of MGM could raise concerns about the expansion of the online giant’s platform, which critics in Washington already believe is too powerful.

Write to Brent Kendall at brent.kendall@wsj.com

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Related Posts

ViacomCBS Names CEOs for Nickelodeon, MTV Groups Amid Streaming Push

July 1, 2021

July 1, 2021

ViacomCBS Inc. said it is naming chief executives of Nickelodeon and MTV Entertainment Group as it readies a major international...

Biden Expected to Propose $6 Trillion Budget

May 27, 2021

May 27, 2021

WASHINGTON—President Biden is expected to propose a $6 trillion budget on Friday that would lay the foundation for his plans...

Democrats Focus on Turning Tax Talk Into Action

June 27, 2021

June 27, 2021

WASHINGTON—Democrats face a daunting task: turning years of talking about raising taxes on corporations and high-income Americans into legislation that...

Europe’s Economy Springs Back to Life, but Shortages Boost Prices

May 21, 2021

May 21, 2021

Europe’s economy looks set for a return to growth in the three months through June, with business surveys pointing to...

Shareholder of MDC Partners Opposes Merger With Stagwell

May 27, 2021

May 27, 2021

One of MDC Partners Inc.’s largest shareholders is opposing the advertising company’s proposed merger with Stagwell Media, a private-equity fund...

Novavax Covid-19 Vaccine Is 90% Effective in Key Study

June 14, 2021

June 14, 2021

An experimental Covid-19 vaccine from Novavax Inc. was 90.4% effective at preventing symptomatic disease in adults in a large clinical...

AMC Boss Adam Aron Basks in Meme-Stock Spotlight

June 4, 2021

June 4, 2021

Adam Aron, AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc.’s AMC -6.68% chief executive, has decided to run with the meme-stock bulls who helped...

Colonial Pipeline Chief Says Recovery From Ransomware Hack Not Complete

June 8, 2021

June 8, 2021

WASHINGTON—The pipeline company hit by a multimillion-dollar ransomware attack last month is still working to fully restore some of its...

Juul to Pay $40 Million to Settle Lawsuit Alleging It Targeted Teens

June 28, 2021

June 28, 2021

Juul Labs Inc. agreed to pay $40 million to the state of North Carolina to settle a lawsuit alleging that...

Where Google’s Advertising Chief Searches for Insight

June 12, 2021

June 12, 2021

A week before Lorraine Twohill applied to engineering school in her native Ireland, she found herself reviewing a brochure about...

Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg Surrenders to Authorities

July 1, 2021

July 1, 2021

The Trump Organization’s finance chief Allen Weisselberg surrendered to New York prosecutors Thursday morning as he and the company’s lawyers...

FDA Approved Biogen Alzheimer’s Drug Despite Some Staff Concerns

June 22, 2021

June 22, 2021

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first new Alzheimer’s drug in decades over the objection of agency statisticians...

Google Faces EU Antitrust Probe of Alleged Ad-Tech Abuses

June 22, 2021

June 22, 2021

Google is being investigated by the EU over allegedly anticompetitive practices around the brokering of advertisements and sharing of user...

Live-Stream Shopping App Ntwrk Hires Its First Chief Marketing Officer

June 20, 2021

June 20, 2021

The company behind Ntwrk, an app that sells limited-edition merchandise during live-streamed videos often hosted by celebrities, has hired its...

GM to Restart Several Factories Idled by Computer-Chip Shortage

May 27, 2021

May 27, 2021

General Motors Co. GM 2.82% said Thursday it is restarting production at a handful of factories that were previously idled...