FTC reportedly opened investigation into Amazon’s deal with MGM


The United States Federal Trade Commission on Friday opened an investigation into Amazon’s recent purchase of MGM, suggesting that a lot of work ahead for the e-commerce giant.

Quoting sources close to the case, Information reports that the FTC is investigation now the $ 8.45 billion deal announced in May. The probe could last six months or more.

As noted in the report, the deal does not appear to present any obvious competition concerns. Sources say the FTC is focusing on the broader scope of Amazon’s growing market power and whether the deal will exacerbate the situation. Specifically, the FTC is investigating how the deal could illegally affect Amazon’s ability to market a wide range of goods and services, according to the report.

Today’s news is expected, as reports in June indicated that the FTC and the Department of Justice had ruled that the FTC would have jurisdiction to review Amazon’s purchase of MGM. The DOJ typically investigates media-related transactions, but the FTC has been investigating Amazon for years.

According to the report, sources familiar with the FTC’s ongoing Amazon investigation said the company’s product ranking system and the promotion of proprietary products were the focus of the ongoing review. The latter issue will potentially be addressed by Congress as part of a package of bills designed to curb powerful tech companies.

Two FTC teams are said to be in charge of the investigation. The Technology Enforcement Division would take care of the broader competition issue, while the Mergers III team, responsible for the energy industry and a handful of other sectors, reviews the deal with MGM, according to The report. Staff from other units have also been invited to volunteer for the review.

Taken as a whole, the actions suggest the FTC is ready to aggressively review large industry mergers and acquisitions. This should come as no surprise given that antitrust specialist Lina Khan was recently appointed chair of the body.

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