The FTC Intends To Continue Opposing Activision Blizzard Merger

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Will Continue To Challenge Court Decision!

The Activision Blizzard acquisition’s last remaining hurdle from the CMA has been mostly cleared after Microsoft sold the streaming rights of Activision Blizzard games to Ubisoft.

While the CMA previously thought the deal would allow Microsoft to become dominant in the cloud gaming market, the latest adjustments from Microsoft encouraged the regulator to provisionally approve the deal.

However, a past opponent has returned to haunt Microsoft. The FTC has confirmed it plans to oppose the deal by resuming its administrative case against Microsoft. 

Why it matters: Microsoft has been struggling for over a year to close the Activision Blizzard deal, and now that it is closer than ever to finalizing the deal, the FTC hopes to offer another setback for the gaming giant.

Previously, the FTC filed an injunction to block the Activision Blizzard merger, but Microsoft won in court after fierce hearings that lasted several days. However, after the defeat, the FTC appealed the court’s decision.

Following the appeal, the deal was extended to 18 October, with the CMA expected to clear the merger before this date. Microsoft also appears more confident than ever, but the FTC is not willing to back down.

The FTC continues to hold the belief that the deal is a threat to the competition in the gaming market despite Microsoft’s recent agreements with PlayStation, Nintendo, and more.

While the US regulator is not normally known to oppose such transactions once defeated, the Activision Blizzard merger has become one of the rarer instances where the FTC continues to work against its opposition.

In response to the FTC’s decision, an Activision spokesperson said:

“We’re focused on working with Microsoft toward closing. How the FTC uses limited taxpayer dollars is its decision.”

Similarly, a spokesperson from Microsoft showed confidence, claiming that the transaction is expected to close by 18 October.

Microsoft Activision Blizzard Acquisition

The FTC is currently focusing on the process of the federal appeal. This process was stopped in the summer, but the case will now continue and be heard by the internal administrative law judge.

The in-hearings for the FTC will take place three weeks after the decision from the 9th Circuit. However, the deal is expected to close before this point as the deadline is 18 October, and the CMA has already promised to give a decision by that date.

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