FTC to block Microsoft's Activision Blizzard merger with injunction

FTC to block Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard merger with injunction

The Federal Trade Commission is expected to block Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of video gaming giant Activision Blizzard with a preliminary injunction.

The FTC is anticipated to file for the temporary order on Monday, according to MLex, a news service that tracks regulatory developments.

The federal regulator has two closed-door meetings scheduled on Monday to discuss the move, according to the report, which was cited earlier Monday by Seeking Alpha.

An injunction would halt the deal, which has a July 18 termination deadline. Until then, either party can walk away, extend or renegotiate the terms of the sale, the outlet reported.

It’s not the first time the FTC has attempted to block the deal.

In December, the agency filed a complaint with an FTC Administrative Law Judge, citing antitrust concerns and stifled competition across the video-game sector if the $95-per-share deal completed.

A hearing for the case in the FTC’s administrative court is scheduled for August.

A representative for the FTC didn’t immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment. Reps for Microsoft and Activision also didn’t immediately comment.


Nearly one month after European Union regulators approved Microsoft’s $69 billion bid to acquire “Call of Duty” maker Activision Blizzard, the FTC is expected to halt the deal with a preliminary injunction.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Meanwhile, UK regulators — notoriously the toughest — have also moved to quash the mega merger over fears that it would hurt competition.

Microsoft has made concessions to get the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on its side.

The Xbox owner has agreed to give companies like Ubitus and Boosteroid access to Activision games on their cloud-based video game streaming services for 10 years.

It also signed a deal with Nintendo, which presently does not have access to “Call of Duty,” though it wasn’t enough to get the CMA to OK the merger.

Microsoft is set to appeal the CMA’s decision in a trial set for July 24.

Despite the roadblocks, European Union regulators approved Microsoft’s $69 billion bid to acquire Activision Blizzard last month under an agreement that Microsoft would ensure rival companies would continue to have access to Activision-developed games, including the ultra-popular “Call of Duty,” “World of Warcraft” and “Candy Crush.”

The modified agreement also ensures that Microsoft will bring all Activision games — “current and future” — to any cloud game streaming service, the European Commission (EC) — EU’s executive arm — said in a statement.

“Ultimately, the commitments will unlock significant benefits for competition and consumers, by bringing Activision’s games to new platforms, including smaller EU players, and to more devices than before,” the commission said.


The FTC also tried to block the deal in December, citing antitrust concerns.
The FTC also tried to block the deal in December, citing antitrust concerns.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Should the acquisition be completed, it would position Microsoft as the third-largest gaming company in the world by revenue, topped only by Tencent and Sony, respectively, and push Apple down to the No. 4 spot.

As of Monday afternoon, Activision Blizzard’s stock was down less than 0.1%, while Microsoft rose 0.2%.


Source by [New York Post]

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