Epic $69 billion Microsoft-Activision Deal Approved, FTC to Appeal Verdict

Epic $69 billion Microsoft-Activision Deal Approved, FTC to Appeal Verdict


The $69 billion Microsoft-Activision deal is poised to be completed ahead of schedule, potentially closing before the July 18 deadline. On Tuesday, a US judge ruled in favor of the historic acquisition, dismissing the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) request for a preliminary injunction. While the FTC has until midnight on July 14 to file an appeal, the deal is set to be finalized worldwide within a week, with the exception of the UK, which had already vetoed the transaction in May.

Microsoft’s strategic objective in acquiring Activision is to bolster its presence in the mobile gaming sector, where the tech giant currently has minimal market share. Meanwhile, Activision possesses a portfolio of immensely popular games and their developers, including notable titles like Candy Crush and Call of Duty. If successfully completed, this substantial deal would catapult Microsoft to the third position among the world’s largest video game companies, trailing behind China’s Tencent and its game console rival, Sony.

While the deal has garnered approval from several jurisdictions, it has faced opposition from the FTC in the United States and Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick had previously stated that the company might abandon the acquisition if the FTC were to secure a ruling pausing the deal.

Government agencies critical of the merger argue that the proposed transaction would harm gamers and result in diminished competition in certain areas. The FTC contends that such a massive merger would grant Microsoft exclusive access to Activision games, potentially leaving Nintendo and Sony Group marginalized.

Although Microsoft has already obtained antitrust approval from the European Union for its $69 billion bid, it faces opposition from Canada and the UK. The British Competition and Markets Authority blocked the takeover in April, prompting Microsoft to plan an appeal later this month. The company’s request for an extension until October has been denied. Furthermore, Canada’s Department of Justice recently concluded that Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard “is likely to” result in reduced competition in certain aspects of the gaming industry.

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