Finding “no competition concerns,” antitrust regulators at the European Commission yesterday (March 15) approved Amazon’s $8.5 billion acquisition of MGM and its collection of some of the most-highly-acclaimed movies in film history. But the EC’s announcement has left the parties with a cliffhanger.
Now, the Federal Trade Commission must decide whether it will give the transaction the green light or sue to block it. The agency’s decision could come any day now. If the FTC does nothing Amazon plans to close the deal, but that doesn’t mean the story is over. The government can challenge the transaction even after it is consummated.
MGM’s catalog comprises more than 4,000 films and 17,000 television shows. The portfolio includes titles ranging from 12 Angry Men to The Magnificent Seven, from Raging Bull to the Silence of the Lambs, and from Thelma & Louise to The Thomas Crown Affair. Its television shows include The Handmaid’s Tale, Fargo, and Vikings. These productions have earned 180 Academy Awards and 100 Emmys.
“The MGM deal came as Amazon was facing increasing antitrust scrutiny in the U.S. and Europe about its size and power,” the Wall Street Journal reported. “Amazon has a $1.6 trillion market value and holds a top market share position in many of the industries in which it operates, including e-commerce and cloud computing.” The deal would help boost the appeal of its streaming service, Amazon Prime, which competes with the robust offerings from Netflix and Disney+.
The revenue stakes in this market are enormous and growing fast. Rivals are engaged in a horse race. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global market generates more than $400 billion, and predicts it will exceed $932 billion in 2028. According to a survey by AudienceProject, Netflix leads the pack in terms of number of users, followed by Amazon Prime, YouTube, Hulu, Disney+ and HBO Max. In the last quarter of 2021, AudienceProject says Amazon and Netflix dropped a few percentage points, and Hulu picked up.
For people anxiously awaiting the FTC’s decision, there is plenty of content to stream to pass the time.