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Amazon-MGM Deal Draws Attention of Bipartisan Antitrust Voices on Capitol Hill

Derek Walborn

Amazon’s recent $8.45 billion acquisition of MGM is remarkable for a handful of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it has resulted in something that Washington D.C. sees very little of these days: agreement.

Former Presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) voiced her concern over the deal’s magnitude, insisting that the Justice Department perform an investigation into the agreement before the companies seal the deal.

“This is a major acquisition that has the potential to impact millions of consumers,” said Klobuchar, who chairs the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee. “The Department of Justice must conduct a thorough investigation to ensure that this deal won’t risk harming competition.”

Klobuchar has also used the merger to highlight the importance of funding for the DOJ and the Federal Trade Commission to conduct thorough reviews into such huge transactions.

“Our government cannot ensure major corporations are playing by the rules if enforcement agencies are chronically underfunded,” she said.

It’s not just Democrats who are opposed to the deal. Some Republicans, already at odds with Amazon due, in part, to a public feud between Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and former President Donald Trump, have also made their feelings known.

“This sale should not go through. Amazon is already a monopoly platform that owns e-commerce, shipping, groceries & the cloud. They shouldn’t be permitted to buy anything else. Period,” tweeted Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO).

A spokesperson for Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) said, “Rep. Buck is extremely concerned by Amazon’s extensive monopoly power that continues to expand through acquisitions. He is also disappointed with the FTC’s lack of scrutiny and failure to adequately enforce antitrust laws over the past decade.”

The acquisition is Amazon’s second-largest to date, only eclipsed by its purchase of Whole Foods in 2017 for about $13 billion.

As film studios and streaming companies continue to consolidate their content, join forces, and grow in influence, many are speaking out.

Discovery’s merger with WarnerMedia caused the Communications Workers of America (CWA) to ask the Biden administration to hold AT&T accountable for their arrangements with union members after failing to do so in the past.

“Three years ago, CWA supported AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner after assurances workers at the new company would be able to join a union without interference from management and engage in collective bargaining,” the CWA’s report said. “AT&T did not keep its promise to the workers. Instead of honoring CWA’s long-standing voluntary union recognition agreement, the company launched a court battle to dodge their contractual commitments to respect workers’ organizing rights. Now AT&T is touting the $3 billion in “synergies” that the merger will create between Warner Media and Discovery. Synergies are almost always another way of saying job cuts, and in the absence of union representation and collective bargaining agreements, consolidation is likely to result in lower wages across the industry as workers have fewer options for employment.”

An ongoing spat between Roku and Google has also led to Roku referring to the tech giant as an “unchecked monopolist.” The name-calling resulted from a dispute that, according to Roku, saw Google demanding that the streaming company upgrade its devices to accommodate their future plans and therefore raise the competitive prices of their hardware.

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