Minnesota Senator calls out US watchdogs: Why so cozy with Amazon?

Klobuchar wants answers over the fast-tracked Whole Foods gobble

A ranking member of the Senate's Antitrust Subcommittee wants a top US regulator to explain why it was so quick to approve Amazon's purchase of high-end grocery chain Whole Foods.

Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) says she is "concerned" over the speed with which Amazon completed its $13.7bn acquisition of the kombucha-slinging organic money sink. The deal gives Amazon hundreds of storefronts in the US to go along with its massive online shopping empire.

Amazon first announced it had agreed to buy Whole Foods on June 16, and after a short review the transaction is slated to be completed on Monday, August 28. Now, Klobucher wants someone from the FTC to step up and explain why a process that usually takes several months to complete was concluded in less than 10 weeks.

"As Ranking Member of the Antitrust Subcommittee, I am concerned about the Federal Trade Commission's decision not to fully review Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods," Klobucher said in a statement released Friday.

In particular, the Minnesota senator is worried about the millions of new customer records and shopping details it would gain from owning Whole Foods. This, combined with Amazon's growing retail empire, should have caused the FTC to take a much more careful look at the deal than they did in Klobuchar's eyes.

"Amazon's increased access to data on consumers and their behavior, and its dominance in internet retail sales, raises questions about whether this merger harms consumers and suppresses competition," Kubach said.

"Examining such complicated issues is the FTC's primary responsibility and I will be calling on the FTC to provide an explanation for why they made such a quick decision regarding this merger." ®

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