FTC investigates Amazon takeover of One Medical

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The Federal Trade Commission investigation into the acquisition of Amazon for 3.9 billion dollars from primary healthcare organization One Medical, a move that could delay the deal.

One Medical and Amazon both received a request for additional information on Friday as part of an FTC review of the merger, according to a filing with securities regulators by One Medical’s parent company, 1Life. Healthcare Inc., based in San Francisco.

Amazon announced plans in late July to buy One Medical, a concierge-style medical service with about 190 medical practices in 25 markets. Last week, the e-commerce giant announced it would shut down its own virtual hybrid homecare service called Amazon Care, a competitor to One Medical, because it was failing to meet customer needs.

The One Medical deal, the first to be announced under CEO Andy Jassy, ​​was another healthcare push for Amazon after its acquisition of the online pharmacy PillPack for $750 million in 2018.

Groups calling for tougher antitrust regulations have urged the FTC to block the One Medical merger, arguing it would further expand Amazon’s massive market power. When it announced in July, the American Economic Liberties Project in Washington said it was unclear whether Amazon would protect patients and their sensitive medical records.

“Allowing Amazon to control the health data of over 700,000 additional people is terrifying,” Krista Brown, the group’s senior policy analyst, said in a July statement. “Amazon has no business being a major healthcare player, and regulators should block this $4 billion deal to ensure it doesn’t become one.”

An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on Friday.

The FTC has previously investigated Amazon Prime’s signup and cancellation practices and issued civil subpoenas in the matter.

Last year, the company unsuccessfully requested that FTC Chair Lina Khan withdraw from separate antitrust investigations into its business, arguing that she would be biased. Khan was a notable critic of Seattle-based Amazon and other Big Tech companies before assuming the presidency. As a Yale law student in 2017, she wrote an influential study called “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox.”

One Medical would mark one of Amazon’s biggest acquisitions, after its $13.7 billion deal to buy Whole Foods in 2017 and its $8.5 billion purchase from Hollywood studio MGM, which closed earlier this year.

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