Washington The US antitrust authority FTC is not giving up in its fight against Microsoft’s multi-billion takeover of Activision Blizzard. As expected, on Wednesday she appealed against a court decision not to temporarily block the biggest deal in the video games industry to date. Further details were not initially known.
Microsoft then confirmed that it wanted to fight through the $69 billion deal. “We are disappointed that the FTC is continuing to pursue a proven weak case,” said company chief Brad Smith. On Thursday, the FTC asked the court for a stay. A decision by the court was initially not available.
Legal experts doubted that the authority will get through with their objection. The appellate court will primarily examine whether there are facts to support the FTC’s claim that Microsoft will deny its competitors licenses for Activision games such as “Call of Duty,” said antitrust expert Daniel Crane of the University of Michigan Law School. “The FTC may have difficulty on appeal in proving this fact. This would render the case in the form she has presented lapsed.”
Should the agency lose its appeal, it faces the choice of withdrawing the lawsuit in the main Microsoft/Activision deal. This is to be negotiated in August. In February, she decided to take such a step in the dispute over the takeover of the software company Within by Facebook’s parent company Meta.
On Tuesday, a US judge denied an FTC request for an injunction barring the companies from working on the merger pending a decision in the main proceedings. The authority did not sufficiently explain that after taking over Activision, Microsoft would no longer release its classic game “Call of Duty” for Sony’s PlayStation or that competition would be substantially impaired by the deal.
CMA reconsiders ban on takeover
In response to this judgment, the British antitrust authority CMA announced that it would reconsider its ban on the takeover. If an agreement is reached with the companies on additional concessions, however, a formal examination must be carried out again.
The two companies are pushing to hurry. The official takeover period expires on July 18. However, the companies can agree on an extension.
More: Microsoft’s $69 billion takeover draws near
First publication: 07/13/2023, 2:23 a.m. (last updated: 07/13/2023, 09:19 a.m.).