The Federal Trade Commission won’t challenge Amazon’s $3.49 billion acquisition of One Medical parent 1Life Healthcare, according to people familiar with the decision, a move that will allow the deal to close this week.
The agency plans to issue a letter to the companies warning them that the investigation remains open despite the expiration of the statutory deadline for the antitrust review, the people said, speaking anonymously to discuss a pending deal. The FTC also issued a so-called pre-consummation warning letter when the online retail giant purchased film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer last year.
The One Medical merger marks the second time that the FTC under progressive Chair Lina Khan has declined to block a major deal by Amazon, though the agency’s long-running probe into the retailer continues.
“The FTC’s investigation of Amazon’s acquisition of One Medical continues,” FTC spokesperson Douglas Farrar said. “The commission will continue to look at possible harms to competition created by this merger as well as possible harms to consumers that may result from Amazon’s control and use of sensitive consumer health information held by One Medical.”
The agency intends to continue probing whether Amazon uses its market power to gain advantages over rivals in the concierge medicine industry, and ensure that the online retailer gains full consent from consumers for any new uses of health information, said an FTC official, who requested anonymity to discuss the agency’s ongoing concerns.
Amazon declined to comment. One Medical didn’t respond to a request for comment.
For years, Amazon cast a shadow over health care, a massive industry that’s long been a target of tech giants and venture capitalists. The company acquired mail-order pharmacy PillPack and mostly folded the operation into its retail website. In July, Amazon announced it would buy One Medical, which operates more than 200 medical offices in 26 markets in the U.S. Customers pay a subscription fee for access to its physicians and round-the-clock digital health services.
Analysts initially expected Amazon to fold the telehealth service into Amazon Care, which offered virtual and in-person medical services. But Amazon announced other plans in August — a month after the One Medical deal was announced — saying it was shuttering the telehealth service because it wasn’t sustainable long term.
The FTC has been investigating Amazon since 2019 over concerns about the company’s control over its online marketplace. The agency is preparing a monopolization suit against the e-commerce giant that could be filed this spring, Bloomberg has reported.
Amazon has undertaken a number of high-profile acquisitions over the past several years, buying Whole Foods Market in 2017 for $13.7 billion and then MGM for $8.5 billion in 2022. Last year, it announced plans to acquire One Medical and Roomba vacuum-maker iRobot for $1.65 billion.
The FTC is still reviewing the iRobot purchase and opened an in-depth probe of the deal in September.