Microsoft’s £55Bn Activision Acquisition Blocked By US Court Pending Hearing | business news
A US regulator has managed to temporarily block Microsoft’s £55 billion takeover of video game maker Activision Blizzard, preventing the deal from closing this week.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which opposes the merger on competitive grounds, filed for an injunction in court last night.
A two-day hearing is now scheduled for next week in San Francisco, in which all sides will exclusively refer to the reasons for the injunction.
The judgment is the latest milestone on a rocky regulatory path for the companies.
Their acquisition plans would give Microsoft control of key gaming content like Call of Duty, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft.
The deal was blocked by UK regulators.
The companies plan to appeal The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) concluded that this would stifle competition in the cloud gaming market.
The EU approved the deal, but the FTC has similar concerns as the UK regulator and has been trying to secure the injunction as the pair could have potentially finalized the deal as early as Friday.
The completion of the deal does not prevent it from being unwound at a later date should UK and US regulators gain the upper hand.
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US District Judge Edward Davila said the injunction granted to the FTC was “necessary to maintain the status quo while the complaint is pending (and to preserve the ability of this court to order effective remedies if it determines that an injunction is warranted.” and to preserve the FTC’s ability to obtain an effective permanent remedy if it prevails in its pending administrative process.”
Microsoft said it welcomes the FTC’s injunction because it would expedite the legal process.
The company has argued that the deal would benefit both gamers and gaming companies, and has offered to sign a legally binding consent decree with the FTC to offer “Call of Duty” games to competitors like Sony and Nintendo for a decade.