Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images

Jeff Bezos isn't just one of the richest men in the world — he has also become one of the most influential executives across an array of industries beyond online retail, including aerospace, newspapers, and now movies.

Why it matters: Bezos' splashy and far-reaching investments distinguish him from other tech leaders who are trying to lay low as regulatory pressures mount.

The big picture: Bezos preserved his reputation as a quirky, efficiency-obsessed engineer during the years he spent building Amazon into an empire.

  • As he prepares to step down as Amazon's CEO — he'll leave that role on July 5, the company said yesterday — his personal hobbies and penchant for the spotlight are an increasingly visible element of his business ambitions.

Bezos' fondness for red carpet appearances has media insiders questioning whether Amazon's costly MGM Studios acquisition, announced Wednesday, is about bolstering Prime subscriptions or scratching Bezos' Hollywood itch. MGM is the home to several blockbuster franchises, including James Bond.

  • His personal ownership of The Washington Post, one of the biggest news outlets in the country, complicates his relationship with Washington D.C. at the same time he's seeking special financial carveouts for his space company, Blue Origin, and as Amazon seeks regulatory approval for acquisitions like MGM.
  • His high-profile divorce — one of the most expensive in history — was precipitated by the revelation that Bezos had begun secretly dating Lauren Sanchez, a former TV news anchor.

Be smart: Until relatively recently, Amazon had largely avoided the regulatory spotlight and Bezos was rarely the story himself. But lawmakers have become wary of the tech giant's power and Bezos' influence.

  • The MGM deal doesn’t immediately set off anti-competitive alarm bells for legal observers, but lawmakers from both parties are already voicing concerns, arguing that it gives Amazon too much power over yet another industry.
  • Amazon announced the deal just one day after Washington, D.C.'s attorney general filed a major antitrust lawsuit against the e-commerce giant, alleging anticompetitive pricing practices in the online retail market.

Yes, but: On Wall Street, these concerns have barely registered to shareholders, who are happy to take risks on Bezos' passion projects or new business lines.

  • MGM, for example, is considered by many to be a distressed asset. Although the pressure to consolidate in the media may put a small premium on the studio, it's been passed over by other major tech giants, including Netflix, for far less money.
  • The $8.5 billion price tag for MGM would raise eyebrows and drive investor skepticism were anybody else to make the offer. But Amazon's announcement didn't try to make a case for the business value of the deal, simply citing the quality of the MGM catalog.

The bottom line: As Bezos enters the next chapter of his life, his appetite for risk and new challenges seem to be broadening. While Wall Street doesn't seem to mind, Washington seems more skeptical.

Go deeper

May 26, 2021 - Economy & Business

Amazon to acquire MGM Studios for $8.5 billion

Photo illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Amazon announced Wednesday it reached a deal to acquire MGM Studios for $8.45 billion, including debt. MGM is the home to several blockbuster franchises, including James Bond.

Why it matters: The deal — Amazon's second-largest acquisition ever, behind the $13.7 billion Whole Foods deal — represents a major milestone in the tech sector's push into entertainment.

Media giants face regulatory risk as they expand

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As media and tech companies look for ways to combine and grow their content footprints, regulators are beginning to eye their efforts with skepticism.

The big picture: Big Tech deals "will probably heighten calls for antitrust legislation," says former Justice Department antitrust chief Makan Delrahim.

May 25, 2021 - Technology

D.C. files antitrust lawsuit against Amazon

Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Washington, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine on Tuesday filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon, alleging the e-commerce giant's anticompetitive pricing practices result in higher costs for consumers and less choice in the online retail market.

Why it matters: The lawsuit concerns how Amazon negotiates with more than 2 million third-party sellers on the platform, which are crucial to the company's business and end up absorbing fees that Amazon charges to list their merchandise.