A group of 34 trade groups, labor unions and consumer activist organizations jointly sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission Wednesday, asking it to block the Amazon's proposed $8.45 billion acquisition of MGM.
"We urge the FTC to block Amazon’s purchase of MGM Studios in order to slow Amazon’s growing dominance," said the groups, which included The Writers Guild of America West, the Center for Popular Democracy Action and Public Citizen.
The FTC is conducting the antitrust review of the proposed purchase under new chair Lina Khan
"This deal would give Amazon control over MGM’s library of content, including popular franchises like Rocky and James Bond," the groups said. "This acquisition is not simply a one-off deal for streaming content; it is the latest move in Amazon’s overarching strategy to create numerous interconnected points of dominance over businesses and consumers. We applaud the Commission’s investigation of this merger because it is a clear example of Amazon’s larger pattern of monopolistic practices."
Most of the group's on the list of 34 are low-profile and far left on the political spectrum.
Khan, however, is a noted critic of concentrated, anticompetitive market power. She was the lead counsel on a House Antitrust investigation into Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple that concluded that those companies had captured control of key distribution channels and function as internet gatekeepers, including by buying up potential competitors.
"Through the MGM acquisition, Amazon will gain control over additional levers of power in the digital economy," the group's letter added. "This is certainly a problem in the streaming market where MGM and Amazon overlap. But the issue is much larger. With the MGM acquisition Amazon will gain control over must-have content, as well as control over additional advertising and IP rights that allow it to stretch its dominance over consumers and other businesses. This increases Amazon’s ability to lock consumers into its sprawling platform and punish businesses and workers that do not accede to its demands."
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. His reliable mid-range jump shot, deft ambidextrous post-up game and tough interior defense have been criminally overlooked.
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