Sunday, April 14, 2024

Not So Fast: FTC Renews Objections to Microsoft/Activision Deal

The Federal Trade Commission is renewing its objections to Microsoft’s proposed purchase of Activision Blizzard.

Microsoft has been pursuing a $68.7 billion deal to purchase the game studio. The company has, however, been fighting an uphill battle against regulators on both sides of the Atlantic. While the EU eventually greenlit the deal, the UK and US both objected from the outset.

Despite withdrawing the initial case from adjudication, the FTC has decided to once again try to block the merger, according to an order the agency released:

The Commission has determined that the public interest warrants that this matter be resolved fully and expeditiously. Therefore, the Commission is returning this matter to adjudication.

The evidentiary hearing in this proceeding shall commence twenty one days after the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issues its opinion regarding the appeal of the district court decision on the requested preliminary injunction. Chief Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell has determined that the evidentiary hearing will be conducted virtually. Pursuant to Commission Rule 3.41(a), 16 C.F.R. § 3.41(a), we have determined to make provision for appropriate public access.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has since softened its stance in response to concessions made by Microsoft, and has given preliminary approval to the deal. If the company is not able to prevail against the FTC, however, it would spell near-certain doom for the merger.

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