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Labor Union Wants FTC to Deny Amazon-MGM Merger; Cites ‘Harmful Vertical Integration In Film Industry’

Jeff Kotuby

One labor coalition wants the Federal Trade Commission to flat out deny the pending Amazon-MGM merger while it continues to review everything involved.

According to Deadline, The Strategic Organizing Center (SOC) called on the Federal Trade Commission to reject Amazon’s proposed $8.45 billion acquisition of MGM. SOC executive director Michael Zucker sent a letter to the acting FTC Competition Bureau director Holly Vedova saying that Amazon has already been accused of anti-competitive practices in the streaming realm — and approving the proposed merger would let it further abuse its massive power to the detriment of its customers, competitors, and the film industry as a whole.

“Amazon’s proposed acquisition of MGM would further bolster Amazon’s ability to leverage power across multiple lines of business related to the SVOD market and create further harmful vertical integration in the film industry at large,” Zucker wrote. “Amazon’s current practices in SVOD and related markets – including leveraging e-commerce power to build SVOD market share, bundling Prime Video with delivery and offering Prime Video at below market prices, and exclusionary use of its dominance in the streaming device and cloud computing markets – already raise serious questions of anti-competitive conduct in the specific market that would be affected by the merger.”

If the FTC does approve the deal, the SOC asks for “significant measures” to be put in place in order to curtail Amazon’s power. “This is an opportunity for the Commission to put a red light in front of the type of transaction that has proven to be so anti-competitive in the past at Amazon,” Zucker said. “If the deal proceeds, it will only allow Amazon to intensify its abusive conduct, bringing harm to numerous participants in the streaming video on-demand market.”

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Last month, the Federal Trade Commission officially opened an investigation that probed Amazon’s recent $8.45 billion acquisition of MGM. The investigation will be “in-depth” and under the direction of Lina Khan’s FTC. Khan is an antitrust advocate and, needless to say, an outspoken critic of Amazon. All signs point to the investigation unfolding over a series of months.

“This is a major acquisition that has the potential to impact millions of consumers,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), 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.”

The SOC is a federation of labor unions that represents close to 4 million workers. SOC (formerly Change to Win) includes the Teamsters, Communications Workers of American (CWA), United Farmworkers of America, and Service Employees International Union. You can read the full SOC letter at the Hollywood Reporter.

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