FTC Moves In To Block Microsoft Activision-Blizzard Acquisition Deal: In-House Court Needs More Time


The US FTC (Federal Trade Commission) is preventing any action from Microsoft from acquiring Activision Blizzard. FTC is clearly concerned that Microsoft will push forth regardless of the legal hurdles and acquire the game developer and publisher.

Even though the FTC had already filed a legal challenge to try and block Microsoft from buying Activision Blizzard for an estimated $68.7 billion, the agency had sought Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). The agency is now seeking an injunction to temporarily block the acquisition deal valued at $68.7 billion.

FTC Moves In To Block Microsoft Activision-Blizzard Acquisition Deal

FTC Seeks Time To Assess The Situation And Impact Of The Deal

The FTC has appealed for an injunction to temporarily block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The reasons being offered to delay the deal are harm to competition in the console, cloud gaming, and gaming subscription sectors.

The FTC’s in-house court apparently needs more time to assess the situation and rule whether the merger would be detrimental to consumers. The US FTC has been asking to prevent Microsoft from acquiring Activision Blizzard even while the US government’s larger case on this exact matter is pending.

The FTC had filed the first legal challenge to stop Microsoft’s proposed Activision Blizzard acquisition back in December 2022. The agency is clearly anxious because Microsoft has until July 18 to close most of the formalities regarding the acquisition, and the FTC is concerned that Microsoft may proceed even without FTC’s blessing.

Why Is FTC Against Microsoft Acquiring Activision Blizzard

The European Union recently granted its approval to the deal. The European Commission essentially accepted remedial measures suggested by Microsoft to ensure fair play and healthy competition.

Microsoft has to now fight with the US FTC and the UK CMA. Speaking about the remedial steps Microsoft has agreed to take, includes a 10-year deal with Nintendo to ensure future Call of Duty titles get same-day release and feature parity on Nintendo systems.

Microsoft has also offered a similar Call of Duty deal to Sony. It is not clear if Sony has agreed. However, the Japanese tech giant and maker of Microsoft Xbox rival PS5, has been a strong opponent of the acquisition.

Moving forward, several executives from Microsoft, Sony, and Activision Blizzard are expected to testify before a US federal court. They would present their arguments for and against the deal. It is quite likely that several developments, which could significantly impact the cloud gaming industry, would be revealed at these hearings.

Incidentally, several recently made licensing commitments indicate that Microsoft could be instrumental in expanding the cloud gaming market. This would bring several popular PC and console game titles to the emerging market, allowing gamers access to titles that were exclusive to some platforms.

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published: Saturday, June 24, 2023, 12:55 [IST]

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