Amazon’s $8.45 billion purchase of MGM is complete, with no public statement from the FTC on whether or not it would contest the deal. The FTC has been considering a challenge for months, according to reports, and The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that Amazon certified it had given the FTC all necessary information, setting a mid-month deadline to close the deal, with or without a response from the agency and its new leader, Lina Khan.
The FTC issued a statement to BlueHillco after first declining to comment on the deal’s conclusion. Lindsay Kryzak, director of the FTC’s office of public affairs, states, « The FTC does not comment on specific situations. » However, we emphasize that the Commission does not condone transactions and may challenge them at any time if it believes they violate the law. Furthermore, the FTC indicated this summer that it will deliver pre-consumption warning letters in connection with acquisitions that it cannot fully probe within the limits specified under the HSR Act. These letters notify merging parties that their transactions are still being investigated and warn them that consummation is at their own risk. »
The FTC made no comment on whether or not Amazon got a letter of this nature.
The European Union’s antitrust commission approved Amazon’s acquisition earlier this week, concluding that the « transaction would raise no competition issues » because the « overlaps » between the two companies are « minimal. » Amazon appears to have viewed it as sufficient clearance and has concluded the deal nearly a year after both firms signed off on it.
Amazon’s historic purchase of the entertainment conglomerate behind James Bond, Rocky, The Addams Family, The Handmaid’s Tale, and a slew of other renowned shows and movies could further boost Amazon’s already robust Prime Video collection. « We welcome MGM employees, producers, and talent to Prime Video and Amazon Studios, » said Amazon senior vice president Mike Hopkins in a statement. « We look forward to working together to create even more possibilities to provide outstanding storytelling to our customers. »
The purchase of MGM’s huge collection, as well as the chance of more originals, may help Amazon’s streaming service gain a competitive advantage over Netflix, HBO Max, and Disney’s family of services. Currently, Prime customers pay a (newly increased) annual fee of $139 to receive access to the over 26,000 movies and 2,700 series available on Prime Video, as well as other privileges such as free two-day shipping on any purchases made on the site.
This news comes as other media behemoths seek to reshape the streaming business. AT&T said last year that it will merge WarnerMedia and Discovery in a move that would include content from major networks such as HBO, CNN, Cartoon Network, HGTV, TLC, Food Network, and others. The merger was allowed by the US authorities in February, and as a result, HBO Max and Discovery Plus would be integrated into a single app.
Update March 17th, 1:57PM ET: Added statement from the FTC.