A new report from CNBC has suggested the US Federal Trade Commission will move to attempt a block of Microsoft’s US $68.7 billion acquisition of developer and publisher Activision Blizzard. The move comes after the deal was blocked in the UK by the CMA, and amidst the company’s celebration of the future of Xbox.
Per CNBC’s sources, the FTC is set to file for an injunction on Monday 13 June 2023, in a bid to stop the acquisition from proceeding. The deal, which was announced in January 2022, has a deadline of 18 July 2023.
Microsoft is already set to make an appeal to the UK CMA in July, and should the FTC successfully halt the deal in the US, the company would also make an appeal before the US Federal Court.
In a statement to CNBC, Microsoft President Brad Smith said, ‘We welcome the opportunity to present our case in federal court. We believe accelerating the legal process in the US will ultimately bring more choice and competition to the market.’
Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition was blocked in the UK due to concerns that the merger would harm competition, specifically in the realm of cloud gaming services. ‘We found that the Merger would make an already strong incumbent in this market even stronger,’ it said.
Microsoft and its Xbox division have been doubling down on their partnerships with fellow cloud gaming services in recent months, likely in response to these concerns. It is unclear at this stage what the FTC perceives to be the primary concern.
We expect to hear more about this ruling and the aftermath soon.