FTC May File Antitrust Suit Over Microsoft/Activision Blizzard Merger

Microsoft may have one major hurdle left before the Activision Blizzard merger can happen, and it would be coming from the FTC. Politico is reporting that the Federal Trade Commission may file a lawsuit against the company to prevent the merger from happening, which they've cited comes from three different sources close to the matter. The reason for the suit would be as part of an investigation as to whether or not the actual merger would be legal, with some advocates arguing against it, including rival Sony. Here are a couple of snippets from the story.

FTC May File Antitrust Suit Over Microsoft/Activision Blizzard Merger
Credit: Microsoft

"A lawsuit would be the FTC's biggest move yet under Chair Lina Khan to rein in the power of the world's largest technology companies. It would also be a major black mark for Microsoft, which has positioned itself as a white knight of sorts on antitrust issues in the tech sector after going through its own grueling regulatory antitrust battles around the world more than two decades ago. A lawsuit challenging the deal is not guaranteed, and the FTC's four commissioners have yet to vote out a complaint or meet with lawyers for the companies, two of the people said. However, the FTC staff reviewing the deal are skeptical of the companies' arguments, those people said."

"The investigation remains ongoing, but much of the heavy lifting is completed, including depositions of Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella and Activision head Bobby Kotick, the people with knowledge of the investigation said. If the agency does move ahead with a case, it could come as soon as next month, said the people, all of whom were granted anonymity to discuss a confidential matter. Central to the FTC's concerns is whether acquiring Activision would give Microsoft an unfair boost in the video game market. Microsoft's Xbox is number three to the industry-leading Sony Interactive Entertainment and its PlayStation console. Sony, however, has emerged as the deal's primary opponent, telling the FTC and regulators in other countries that if Microsoft made hit games like Call of Duty exclusive to its platforms Sony would be significantly disadvantaged."
Activision Blizzard Inc. logo displayed on smartphone by Piotr Swat
Activision Blizzard Inc. logo displayed on smartphone by Piotr Swat

We'll see if the FTC decides to follow through on it, as this is all from second-hand sources who went under amenity. There's always a chance they could simply wash their hands of it after the investigation and let it happen as it would cost millions of taxpayer money to take one of the biggest tech and gaming companies on the planet to court in what would most likely be a lengthy process, with no guarantee that a judge would side either way. We'll keep an eye on things and see how it plays out, but they have until mid-2023 to file suit before the merger becomes final.

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Gavin SheehanAbout Gavin Sheehan

Gavin is the current Games Editor for Bleeding Cool. He has been a lifelong geek who can chat with you about comics, television, video games, and even pro wrestling. He can also teach you how to play Star Trek chess, be your Mercy on Overwatch, recommend random cool music, and goes rogue in D&D. He also enjoys hundreds of other geeky things that can't be covered in a single paragraph. Follow @TheGavinSheehan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vero, for random pictures and musings.
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