With its completion of its MGM purchase today, Amazon appears to have won a minor victory in the increasingly intense war between the tech behemoth and the Federal Trade Commission. But the real battle, which will likely focus on Amazon’s power in e-commerce and cloud computing, remains to be fought. And all Amazon might have accomplished today is motivate FTC chief Lina Khan to fight harder.
As my colleague Josh Sisco learned today, Amazon closed the MGM deal despite having received a warning letter from the FTC that it will continue investigating the purchase. That holds out the possibility that the FTC could try to unwind the deal in the future. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. As we reported last month, the FTC was taking some steps toward filing a suit to block the MGM deal. It’s likely it would have done so if Khan could have mustered a majority of votes on the commission to back a lawsuit (something she doesn’t have thanks to a Senate fight over President Joe Biden’s nomination for a new commissioner). In other words, it was just a matter of luck that Amazon was able to close.