The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will file an injunction today to block Microsoft's proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, CNN reports.
“We welcome the opportunity to present our case in federal court,” Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president, said in a statement to CNN. “We believe accelerating the legal process in the U.S. will ultimately bring more choice and competition to the market.”
In January 2022 Microsoft announced plans to buy Activision Blizzard for $69 billion. In December, the FTC sued Microsoft to block the deal from happening. The only other regulator to block the deal is the UK's Competition Markets Authority (CMA), citing concerns over the potential of the cloud gaming market. Both Activision and Microsoft have appealed that decision.
Microsoft has announced a raft of initiatives aimed at addressing regulator concern over the deal. Examples include Nvidia's 10-year agreement with Microsoft to bring Xbox Game Studios titles onto Nvidia's cloud gaming service, GeForce Now. Microsoft struck a similar deal with Nintendo earlier this year where the company announced plans to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo platforms "the same day as Xbox".
well looks like Uncle Phil just cant seem to get a break :(
Update (6/13/23) -A federal court in California has issued a temporary restraining order requested by the FTC that effectively blocks Microsoft's $68.7 billion deal to acquire Activision Blizzard for the time being.
As reported by The Verge, the court in question agreed to issue the restraining order requested by the FTC as it considers the a preliminary injunction that would allow the FTC to make a legal case against Microsoft before the deal could be completed.
“Accelerating the legal process in the US will ultimately bring more choice and competition to the gaming market,” Microsoft spokesperson David Cuddy said in a statement to The Verge. “A temporary restraining order makes sense until we can receive a decision from the Court, which is moving swiftly.”
This order means Microsoft and Activision can not complete the deal until "after 11:59pm Pacific Time on the fifth business day after the Court rules on the FTC's request for a preliminary injunction" or, if it's later, a date set by the court.
As for the preliminary injunction, an evidentiary hearing on the matter will take place on June 22 and 23, and Microsoft and Activision will be able to "submit their brief in opposition to the motion for preliminary injunction by June 16, 2023." The FTC will then be able to submit its reply by noon on June 20.
It's important to note that the Microsoft and Activision deal would need to close before July 18, 2023, or the two parties will need to renegotiate. If they don't agree to new terms, Microsoft will need to pay Activision Blizzard a $3 billion breakup fee.
Ouch a restraining order has been requested :(