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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Microsoft Beats FTC to Move Forward With Activision Blizzard Takeover

  • A judge in San Francisco denied the FTC’s injunction request to block Microsoft’s deal.
  • Microsoft’s $68.7 billion Activision Blizzard takeover still faces pushback from UK regulators.
A judge denied the FTC’’s injunction request to block Microsoft’s deal.
Syndication: Phoenix

Microsoft has won a U.S. court decision to move forward with its $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the developer of popular video games such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch.

Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley in San Francisco ruled to deny the Federal Trade Commission’s attempted injunction to block the biggest deal ever in gaming. Microsoft can now close its merger with Activision before the July 18 deadline in every country except for the UK, though Microsoft is negotiating with the UK regulator to get its deal approved. 

The FTC argued that Microsoft would use its acquisition of Activision Blizzard to make certain popular games no longer available for Sony’s PlayStation, a rival to the Xbox console owned by Microsoft. However, the U.S. court ruled that the FTC could not validate the likelihood of that possibility or that Microsoft’s acquisition would hurt cloud-gaming competition. 

“The FTC has not shown it is likely to succeed on its assertion the combined firm will probably pull Call of Duty from Sony PlayStation, or that its ownership of Activision content will substantially lessen competition in the video game library subscription and cloud gaming markets,” the court said. “The FTC has also failed to show a likelihood of success on its claim the merger will probably lessen competition in the cloud gaming market because the combined firm will foreclose Activision’s content, including Call of Duty, from cloud-gaming competitors.”

Microsoft executive Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, said following Tuesday’s ruling that “the Activision Blizzard deal is good for the industry and the FTC’s claims about console switching, multi-game subscription services, and cloud don’t reflect the realities of the gaming market.”

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