Report: FTC ‘likely’ to sue to block Microsoft / Activision merger


Only a few of Activision's franchises will become Microsoft's property if and when the acquisition is finalized.
Zoom in / Only a few of Activision’s franchises will become Microsoft’s property if and when the acquisition is finalized.

Microsoft / Activision

The Federal Trade Commission will likely move to file an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft and Activision Blizzard for blocking it Planned corporate merger deal worth $69 billion. This is according to New Politico report Quoting “Three [unnamed] People know about it.”

While Politico writes that the lawsuit remains “unsecured,” it adds that FTC employees are “questioning the companies’ arguments” that the deal would not be anticompetitive. The sources also confirmed that “many heavy burdens have been completed” in the committee’s investigation, and that a case could be filed as early as next month.

Sony, the main opponent of Microsoft’s proposed purchase, publicly argued That current contractual warranty is for three years to keep Activision’s bestseller Call of duty The PlayStation franchise is “insufficient on several levels.” In response, Microsoft Xbox head Phil Spencer has publicly promised to continue charging Call of duty Games on PlayStation “as long as there’s PlayStation out there to ship them”. It is not clear whether or not the companies memorialized this show as a legal agreement; New York times I reported this week which Microsoft offered a 10-year deal to keep Call of duty on PlayStation. “

Several statements by Microsoft executives, including Spencer, have indicated that the company is less interested in strengthening its position in the “console wars” and more interested in strengthening it. cell phoneAnd the Cloud gamingAnd the Game Pass subscription offers. behind Call of dutyPolitico reported that the FTC is concerned about how Microsoft could “leverage unannounced titles in the future to advance its gaming business”.

Microsoft spokesperson David Cody told Politico that Microsoft “is ready to address the concerns of regulators, including the Federal Trade Commission, and Sony to ensure the deal closes with confidence.” “We will continue to track Sony and Tencent in the market after the deal is concluded, and Activision and Xbox will both benefit gamers and developers and make the industry more competitive.”

There are still a lot of speed bumps

Reports of a possible FTC lawsuit add to a growing list of troubling signals about the proposed purchase from various international governments. Earlier this month, the European Commission said it is Moving on to the “in-depth investigation” of the deal. In the UK, A.J Similar investigation “Phase 2” By the country’s Competition and Markets Authority a hearing is scheduled for next month.

those international investigations It is expected to conclude in MarchEnsure that the proposed deal is not closed before then and give the FTC some time before it has to file a lawsuit. Any such lawsuit must be approved by a majority of the FTC’s four current commissioners and is likely to begin. Administrative Court of the Federal Trade Commission. Whatever the outcome, the legal maneuvering in the case could easily delay a planned merger past the contractual deadline of July 2023, at which point the two companies would have to renegotiate or abandon the deal.

The FTC lawsuit in this matter may be the strongest sign yet of a robust antitrust enforcement regime under FTC Chair Lena Kahn, a big tech skeptic who has been named to the position in June. Back in July, it was He announced his antitrust lawsuit against Meta Corporation (formerly Facebook) and The proposed purchase of $ 400 million, includingmakers of the VR Fitness app supernatural.

Three months after Microsoft announced the proposed purchase in January, a group of four members of the United States Senate He wrote an open letter He strongly urges the Federal Trade Commission to take a closer look at the deal. Last month, news site Dealreporter merged He said FTC staff have expressed “grave concerns” about the deal. And this week, the New York Times reported “two people” in reports That the FTC has reached out to other companies for sworn statements outlining their concerns about the deal is a possible sign of lawsuit preparations.


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