Amazon secures EC approval for MGM acquisition

The Handmaid’s Tale

Amazon has won European Commission (EC) approval to acquire James BondThe Handmaid’s Tale and Vikings studio MGM.

The US$8.5bn acquisition, which is now waiting for approval by the US Federal Trade Commission, represents Amazon’s second biggest-ever deal.

European Union (EU) officials said there was limited overlap between the companies and added that it would not lead to reduced competition in the market.

The unconditional approval was given after the EC said the merger “would not significantly reduce competition” in the production and supply of content, the supply of TV channels, nor the production and licensing of distribution rights to third-party distributors of films for theatrical release.

“The Commission found that the overlaps between Amazon and MGM are limited. The parties are primarily active in different parts of the AV content value chain and where both parties are active, their combined market shares are low,” it said.

The EC added that MGM’s “upstream activities as a producer and licensor” of content were “limited compared to other market players’ activities”, adding that the studio’s content “cannot be considered as must-have and [that] a wide variety of alternative content exists.”

The Commission added that in national markets where Amazon has “a sizeable market presence among video streaming platforms”, the retailer faces “strong competition” from other players.

The next hurdle for Amazon is to gain approval in the US via the FTC, which has until mid-March to come to its verdict. An exact deadline has not been revealed.

It is believed that the deal will pass through the FTC, with Amazon ‘substantially complying’ with the FTC’s requests for information about the deal.

The FTC currently has an anti-trust probe into Amazon currently ongoing as part of investigations into the four largest tech platforms in the US – Amazon, Meta, Google and Apple.

Upon completion, MGM would add more than 4,000 titles to the content that Amazon could offer to Prime Video users, including the Academy Award-nominated Licorice Pizza.

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