We’re learning how Amazon plans to deal with Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan’s anti–tech acquisition policy—by striking so many deals that the FTC will have a hard time fighting them all. You could call it the whack-a-mole M&A strategy. That’s one interpretation of Sunday’s news that Amazon is a bidder for Signify Health, a health analytics company with a market capitalization of $6.6 billion. The bid follows Amazon’s deals to purchase the One Medical chain of primary care clinics and iRobot, maker of the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner, over the past few weeks.
And those two acquisitions were in addition to Amazon’s $8.6 billion purchase of MGM earlier this year. There’s no certainty Amazon will succeed in its bid for Signify: It faces competition in the bidding from UnitedHealth and CVS, according to The Wall Street Journal. But if it wins, Amazon will have spent more than $20 billion on acquisitions this year, roughly 10 times its acquisition spending in each of the past three years. Amazon can easily afford that outlay—it had $60 billion in cash and marketable securities as of June 30. Moreover, Amazon is striking while asset prices are cheap, so you can’t fault its timing.