Federal Judge Halts Biden FTC’s Block On Microsoft Acquisition

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Federal Judge Halts Biden FTC’s Block On Microsoft Acquisition


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A federal judge on Tuesday denied the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) motion Tuesday to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision.

Microsoft is one step closer to completing its $68.7 billion acquisition of video game company Activision, which was announced in January 2022, after heavy scrutiny from the FTC, according to CNBC. Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley, a Biden appointee to California’s Northern District Court, denied the FTC’s request for a preliminary injunction to block the merger, but the ruling still leaves the opportunity for the FTC to appeal.

The FTC’s main argument against the acquisition, according to the court ruling, is that Microsoft will own too much of the gaming industry, since Activision is the publisher of popular video games like Call Of Duty, and could pull the titles from Microsoft competitor Sony’s video game console, hurting consumers.

“The gist of the FTC’s complaint is Call of Duty is so popular, and such an important supply for any video game platform, that the combined firm is probably going to foreclose it from its rivals for its own economic benefit to consumers’ detriment,” according to the court ruling. “The FTC has not shown it is likely to succeed on its assertion the combined firm will probably pull Call of Duty from Sony PlayStation, or that its ownership of Activision content will substantially lessen competition in the video game library subscription and cloud gaming markets.”

Following the decision, Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith expressed support for the decision, according to statements given to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“We’re grateful to the Court in San Francisco for this quick and thorough decision and hope other jurisdictions will continue working towards a timely resolution,” Smith said. “As we’ve demonstrated consistently throughout this process, we are committed to working creatively and collaboratively to address regulatory concerns.”

A spokesperson with the FTC was disappointed with the outcome but noted that the FTC will be announcing next steps on the matter soon in statements to the DCNF.

“We are disappointed in this outcome given the clear threat this merger poses to open competition in cloud gaming, subscription services, and consoles,” the spokesperson said. “In the coming days we’ll be announcing our next step to continue our fight to preserve competition and protect consumers.”

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