FTC chair Lina Khan faces an Amazon paradox over MGM deal
FTC chair Lina Khan will soon be faced with a decision of whether or not to allow Amazon's $8.45 billion purchase of MGM, which has already gotten approval overseas.
Why it matters: Khan rose to prominence largely due to her antitrust stance against big tech giants like Amazon.
- Approving a major acquisition by Amazon in her first big merger review could place her in the crosshairs of antitrust advocates.
- Yet legal experts argue the FTC would have to hugely break with past precedent if it wanted to sue to block the deal.
- Her 2017 Yale Law Journal article "Amazon's Antitrust Paradox" argued that Amazon's retail business should be separated from its selling platform.
Driving the news: The European Commission signed off on the deal yesterday without imposing any conditions, Axios' Margaret Harding McGill reports.
- The commission believes the deal would not significantly reduce competition.
- "Even in the national markets where Amazon has a sizable market presence among video streaming platforms, the commission found that Amazon faces strong competition from other players," the commission said.
Catch up quick: Jonathan Kanter, who heads up the Justice Department's Antitrust Division, said earlier this year that he no longer wanted to allow for merger approvals with conditions.
- This means that rather than approve mergers requiring certain conditions or divestitures, the DOJ would either approve them full stop or sue to block.
What's next: The FTC faces a mid-March deadline to act on the merger, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
- The commission is currently deadlocked at two Democrats and two Republicans, and it's unclear whether she has the votes to sue to block the deal.
- Alvaro Bedoya, who was nominated to be the fifth commissioner by President Biden last September, is still going through the confirmation process.