Global Markets: Amazon buys MGM, sued for antitrust

WINNIPEG – The following is a glance at the news moving markets in Canada and globally.

– It was a mixed day for online retail giant Amazon on Wednesday as it purchased the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) movie studio for US$8.45 billion. The transaction is Amazon’s largest since acquiring grocery chain Whole Foods in 2017 for US$13.7 billion and will bolster its Amazon Prime Video streaming service. The studio, best known for producing the James Bond and Rocky franchises, filed for bankruptcy in 2010 and its lead shareholder is hedge fund Anchorage Capital Group LLC. Hours earlier, Karl Racine, the Attorney General for Washington, D.C. announced he had filed a lawsuit against Amazon for engaging in anti-competitive practices, raising prices for consumers. At issue are “nation agreements” where third-party merchants who use Amazon are not allowed to sell products at lower prices on other platforms, including their own websites. However, no states have joined the lawsuit yet and might not be heard in court for a number of years.

– United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai requested a dispute settlement panel on Tuesday after American dairy producers alleged that Canada was denying them fair access to its markets. U.S. trade officials and dairy industry advocates claim Canada is allocating most of its tariff-rate quotas, the amounts of dairy products imported at lower duty levels, to processors not producers, in violation of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

– Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday the country will be ramping up its vaccination campaign next month to fully vaccinate Canadians. Canada is third among G20 nations for shots administered per capita, but lags far behind in fully vaccinated citizens per capita. This is due to the National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s (NACI) recommendation to delay second doses by up to 16 weeks because of a low number of doses earlier this year. Procurement Minister Anita Anand said Moderna intends to deliver “millions and millions” of doses in June, while AstraZeneca will deliver one million doses in late June.

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