Amazon ignores FTC’s Khan by vacuuming up firms

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The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France, October 6, 2021 REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

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NEW YORK, Aug 5 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Amazon.com (AMZN.O) is acting like Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan isn’t there. The technology giant said Friday it’s buying robot vacuum maker iRobot (IRBT.O) for $1.7 billion. That is two weeks after its acquisition of healthcare firm One Medical and closing its $8.5 billion MGM movie studio purchase in March.

Khan rose to prominence criticizing Amazon’s expansion read more . In the Yale Law Journal, she claimed traditional antitrust arguments that looked only at consumer prices ignored potential harm. She argued the retailer’s willingness to sustain losses, expand across multiple business lines and control data created market dominance.

Amazon is doing what it’s always done. IRobot’s Roomba cleaners are a promising new business, and founder Jeff Bezos stressed experimenting in such markets. And it’s automating homes.

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But for Khan, Amazon’s expansion as usual is a problem because it undercuts her regulatory chops. But the MGM deal also cleared under her watch. Until the FTC tries to stop it, and perhaps even after, Amazon will keep hoovering up companies. (By Rob Cyran)

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are their own. Refiles to add author byline.)

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