Faced with the tough regulatory hurdles that come as a tech giant already in the crosshairs of federal regulators, Amazon appears to have gotten the drop on the FTC in its effort to close its $8.45 billion purchase of MGM.
Amazon, which announced the acquisition of the studio behind the James Bond series and other venerable titles way back in May of last year, recently filed with the Federal Trade Commission to certify that it has provided all antitrust information required and asked for by federal regulators.
As first detailed by the Wall Street Journal, that action puts the FTC under a tight mid-March deadline, one it might not be able to make. And the FTC's failure to do so would allow Amazon to close its deal.
That doesn't totally ameliorate Amazon's situation with the FTC, now under the direction of antitrust-busing chairwoman Lina Khan, and which can still investigate and impact mergers after they've closed.
Khan has spoken openly in the past about the need for the government to curtail Amazon's power. More broadly, the FTC has recently stated its willingness to intervene in closed deals through actions including lawsuits.
So it may be with Amazon and MGM, but closing the deal would allow Amazon to at least move forward with founder and executive chairman Jeff Bezos' stated goal of getting more vested in video streaming, and exploiting an MGM library that includes 18 Oscar Best Picture winners, the Rocky/Creed franchise, the Pink Panther franchise and around 4,000 other movies. There’s also 17,000 episodes of TV and, of course, nearly two-dozen James Bond movies.
It's notable that Netflix is touting this week the ratings success of spinoff series Vikings: Valhalla, a new series produced by MGM that might have debuted on Amazon Prime Video under another ownership scenario. ■
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Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!