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FTC chair Lina Khan. Photo by Bloomberg.

FTC Chief Khan Faces New Pressure on Amazon Deal—From Progressives

By  |  Aug. 31, 2021 7:49 AM PDT
Photo: FTC chair Lina Khan. Photo by Bloomberg.

Two weeks ago, a $2.5 billion merger of two big U.S. food distributors closed without an in-depth antitrust review by the Federal Trade Commission. That surprised both of the companies, as well as some of FTC Chair Lina Khan’s key allies, who had expected her to challenge any major attempt at corporate consolidation.

In a sign that Khan’s progressive allies don’t want a repeat of such inaction on tech deals, a coalition of progressive groups sent a letter on Tuesday urging Khan to file a lawsuit to block Amazon’s $8.5 billion proposed acquisition of Hollywood studio MGM. The coalition, led by prominent progressive advocacy group Demand Progress, had planned to send the letter even before the FTC let the big food-distribution merger close, but that inaction hastened its outreach, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation.

Such letters are standard in Washington. However, the timing of this one indicates that Khan’s allies—and not just her foes—are scrutinizing every move she makes.

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