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Tags: activision | blizzard | microsoft | sony | gaming

Report: FTC Loses Appeal to Block Microsoft-Activision Deal

By    |   Friday, 14 July 2023 09:53 PM EDT

A federal appeals court on Friday denied the Federal Trade Commission's motion to block Microsoft's $68.7 million acquisition of video game maker Activision Blizzard.

Following the court's ruling, CNBC reported that Microsoft is still trying to overcome issues with the deal from the United Kingdom's Competition and Markets Authority to close by July 18.

According to the report, the FTC initially brought the lawsuit to stop the merger in December 2022, arguing that the proposed union of the companies was "anti-competitive" and that Microsoft could use its leverage with the company to make games exclusive to its own Xbox platform, or "diminish the experience" of the games, including the famous "Call of Duty" franchise on rival services.

A federal judge in San Francisco ruled against the FTC on Tuesday after five days of hearings, resulting in the agency filing an appeal on Wednesday with the U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit.

The report said that in its appeal, the FTC claimed the district court judge "denied preliminary relief, applying the wrong legal standard: the court effectively required the FTC to prove its full case on the merits with the court as arbiter of the merger's legality."

According to CNN, the merger would make Activision the world's third-largest game publisher behind Sony and Tencent.

Forbes reported Thursday that the deal would expand the Xbox Game Pass subscription service by offering Activision Blizzard's library of games and benefit PC gamers using Microsoft's Windows operating system.

While Microsoft has pledged to continue offering "Call of Duty" on Sony's PlayStation platform for the next 10 years, the report said the availability of new titles remains a question.

The report said Nintendo may become a beneficiary of the deal by recently signing a deal to bring "Call of Duty" to that brand's Switch platform.

According to Forbes, that game franchise on PlayStation accounted for around 13% of Activision's net revenues in 2022, while Microsoft and Xbox accounted for 10%.

Microsoft announced the potential merger in January 2022, saying it would be paying $95 per share for the gaming company.

"Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms," Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO, Microsoft, said in a press release at the time. "We're investing deeply in world-class content, community and the cloud to usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and makes gaming safe, inclusive and accessible to all."

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A federal appeals court on Friday denied the Federal Trade Commission's motion to block Microsoft's $68.7 million acquisition of video game maker Activision Blizzard. Following the court's ruling, CNBC reported that Microsoft is still trying to overcome issues with the deal ...
activision, blizzard, microsoft, sony, gaming
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2023-53-14
Friday, 14 July 2023 09:53 PM
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