A coalition of 34 citizen groups last week sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) urging its members to block Amazon’s pending $8.45 billion purchase of MGM in order to slow Amazon’s growing dominance.

In a letter to recently named FTC Chair Lina M. Khan and the rest of the commission posted by entertainment news site Deadline, the coalition stated, “This acquisition is not simply a one-off deal for streaming content; it is the latest move in Amazon’s overarching strategy to create numerous interconnected points of dominance over businesses and consumers. We applaud the Commission’s investigation of this merger because it is a clear example of Amazon’s larger pattern of monopolistic practices.”

Coalition members that signed onto the letter include the following:

Action Center on Race & the Economy
ALIGN: The Alliance for a Greater NY
Backbone Campaign
Blue Future
Center for Popular Democracy Action
Courage California
Demand Progress Education Fund
Fight for the Future
Friends of the Earth
Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition
Institute for Local Self-Reliance
Jobs With Justice
Justice Democrats
Liberation in a Generation
Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy
Main Street Alliance
National Employment Law Project
Open Markets Institute
The Other 98%
Our Revolution
People’s Parity Project
Progress America
Public Citizen
Region VI Coalition for Responsible Investment
Revolving Door Project
Social Security Works
Stand Up Nashville
United for Respect
Working Families Party
Writers Guild of America West

In late May 2021, Amazon entered into an agreement to acquire MGM and its vault of more than 4,000 films, including the James Bond and Rocky classics, for $8.45 billion to complement the work of Amazon Studios. At the time, Amazon vowed to help preserve MGM’s heritage and catalog of films while giving customers greater access to them.

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The coalition’s letter goes on to warn the FTC that the acquisition would give Amazon “control over additional levers of power in the digital economy” including “control over must-have content, as well as control over additional advertising and IP rights that allow it to stretch its dominance over consumers and other businesses.”

Earlier last month, The Strategic Organizing Center (SOC), a federation of labor unions representing close to 4 million workers, similarly called on the FTC commissioners to reject the acquisition.

In that letter the SOC called on the acting director of the FTC’s Competition Bureau to reject the proposal, stating that Amazon has already employed anti-competitive practices in the streaming video-on-demand market and would gain further leverage to the detriment of consumers, competitors and the film industry. The SOC includes the Teamsters, Communications Workers of American (CWA), United Farmworkers of America and Service Employees International Union.

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By Greg Tarr

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