The US Federal Trade Commission is expected to make its ruling soon on whether it will step in to block Amazon’s proposed $8.45 billion acquisition of MGM Studios. The company’s attorneys are making the argument that the streaming market will remain highly competitive even after the deal, with well-established, industry-leading players including Netflix, Disney and Discovery-Warner. “Amazon will no more have a monopoly over James Bond than Netflix has a supposed monopoly over ‘Stranger Things,'” said Adam Kovacevich, founder of industry group Chamber of Progress. “It’s going to be very difficult to make a case surrounding the facts of this acquisition.”
Progressives argue that Amazon’s dominant position in the U.S. economy overall should disqualify it from making the deal, saying that it will accelerate Amazon’s consolidation of the retail industry. Demand Progress Education Fund executive director David Segal said the e-commerce giant will clearly move to “steer consumers toward particular products and services and undercut competitors,” and that it has long since reached the point where it should not be allowed to buy more companies.
Amazon is the second largest U.S. based employer with nearly 1.3 million employees. (Walmart is the largest employer, with a staff of 2.2 million.) Over 200 million consumers subscribe to Amazon Prime, with access to the Amazon Prime Video library of programs and movies. MGM’s extensive film library and rights to numerous popular characters and franchises would enhance Amazon’s video offerings. The company’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is the richest person in the world.