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Microsoft bid for Activision likely blocked by FTC lawsuit: report

Microsoft bid for Activision likely blocked by FTC lawsuit: report
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Microsoft’s takeover bid for video game publisher Activision Blizzard could reportedly face a major hurdle as early as next month.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is likely to file an antitrust lawsuit to block the $69 billion acquisition, Politico said, citing people familiar with the matter.

A lawsuit against the deal is not guaranteed, and the FTC’s four commissioners have yet to dismiss a complaint or meet with lawyers for the companies.

The FTC officials reviewing the deal are skeptical of the companies’ arguments, these people said.

MICROSOFT’S ACTIVISION BLIZZARD DEAL UNDER GLOBAL STUDY

A Blizzard booth during a convention

The Activision Blizzard booth during the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong/AP Images)

Central to the FTC’s concerns is whether the acquisition of Activision would give Microsoft an unfair boost in the video game market.

Microsoft’s Xbox is the number three of industry-leading Sony Interactive Entertainment and its PlayStation console.

Sony fears that if Microsoft made successful games like Call of Duty exclusive to its platforms, Sony would be at a significant disadvantage.

Microsoft has pledged to continue making Call of Duty available on Sony’s Playstation console and recently made an offer to give Sony access to the game for the next 10 years.

A spokesman for Activision provided the following statement to FOX Business.

“Any suggestion that the transaction could lead to anti-competitive effects is completely absurd. This merger will benefit gamers and the US gaming industry, especially as we face increasingly fierce competition from abroad. We are committed to continuing to work cooperatively with regulators around the world to allow the transaction to proceed, but we will have no hesitation in defending the transaction if necessary.”

Microsoft and Activision logos

The Microsoft logo can be seen on a smartphone placed on top of the Activision Blizzard logo displayed. (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/Reuters)

EU’S CALL OF DUTY: PROBE MICROSOFT-ACTIVISION BLIZZARD DEAL

WITHRabbits by Activision down about 4% in extended trading.

Microsoft announced the deal in January, the games industry’s biggest deal in history.

Microsoft made the following statement to FOX Business.

“As we have said before, we stand ready to address concerns from regulators, including the FTC, and from Sony to ensure the deal is completed with confidence.” We will continue to follow Sony and Tencent in the market after the deal closes, and together with Activision and Xbox will benefit gamers and developers and make the industry more competitive.”

Microsoft Activision Blizzard

Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard Inc. and Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft (Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images | Microsoft/Getty Images)

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD SHAREHOLDERS ACCEPT PROPOSED $68.7 BILLION SALE TO MICROSOFT

The EU launched a full-scale investigation earlier this month. The EU competition authority announced that it would have until March 23, 2023 to decide whether the deal should be approved or blocked.

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