A US appeals court denied the Federal Trade Commission’s bid to halt Microsoft’s $69 billion (£53 billion) acquisition of Call of Duty producer Activision Blizzard on Friday (14 July).
The decision of the appeals court removes one of the few remaining obstacles preventing Microsoft from closing the transaction and expanding its gaming business.
Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California denied a similar request from the FTC on Thursday evening.
Microsoft’s president, Brad Smith, remarked –
“We appreciate the ninth circuit’s swift response denying the FTC’s motion to further delay the deal. This brings us another step closer to the finish line in this marathon of global regulatory reviews.”
The transaction, the largest in the history of the video game industry, still requires British approval. The Microsoft and Activision merger agreement will expire on July 18. Activision is a prominent games developer responsible for World of Warcraft and Candy Crush Saga.
Did you know that Microsoft’s default Calibri font will be replaced by Aptos, a new Swiss-inspired sans-serif typeface? Microsoft has spent the past several years in pursuit of its new Aptos default font, formerly known as Bierstadt:
After that date, either party is free to withdraw from the agreement unless an extension is negotiated. In the United Kingdom, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) opposes the transaction due to its potential impact on cloud gaming competition.
It received a “detailed and complex” new proposal from Microsoft on Friday and extended its deadline for a final ruling to August 29, although it stated that it would attempt to do so as quickly as feasible.
In a statement released this week, CMA stated that the deal needed to be restructured to resolve its concerns, stating –
“They can choose to restructure a deal, which can lead to a new merger investigation.”
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) argued in the United States that the transaction would harm consumers who played video games on consoles or had subscriptions because Microsoft would have an incentive to exclude competitors such as Sony Group. Microsoft responded by offering 10-year licenses to its competitors.
However, on Tuesday, Judge Corley ruled that the transaction was permissible under antitrust law and denied the FTC’s request for a preliminary injunction, allowing the FTC to present its case to an internal FTC judge in August.
A representative for the Federal Trade Commission stated earlier this week that the merger posed a “clear threat… to open competition in cloud gaming, subscription services, and consoles.”
After this week’s judgment against the FTC, Activision Blizzard’s CEO Bobby Kotick stated –
“Our merger will benefit consumers and workers. It will enable competition rather than allow entrenched market leaders to continue to dominate our rapidly growing industry.”
With the US appeals court ruling in favor of Microsoft, the company is now closer than ever to finalizing its historic acquisition of Activision Blizzard. As the gaming industry eagerly awaits the outcome, all eyes will be on the developments surrounding this groundbreaking merger. Stay tuned for updates on our website as we continue to bring you the latest news and insights in the world of technology and gaming.