Microsoft May Face FTC Lawsuit to Block Activision Takeover Bid: Report

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is likely to file an antitrust case to block Microsoft’s $69 billion (roughly Rs. 5,63,500 crore) takeover of video game publisher Activision Blizzard, Politico reported on Wednesday. , citing people familiar with the matter.

The lawsuit challenging the deal has not been confirmed, and the FTC’s four commissioners have not yet voted on the complaint or met with the companies’ lawyers, said the reportadding that FTC staff reviewing the deal are skeptical of the companies’ arguments.

The FTC did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Reuters.

“We are committed to continuing to work with regulators around the world to allow transactions to continue, but we will not hesitate to fight security measures if necessary,” said an Activision Blizzard spokesperson. Any suggestion that the transaction could lead to anti-competitive effects is “absolutely absurd,” the spokesman said.

Activision shares fell nearly 2 percent in extended trading after closing 1 percent higher.

Microsoft, maker of the Xbox game console, announced in January a deal to buy Activision, maker of Call of Duty and Candy Crush games, in the biggest gaming industry deal in history as the world’s tech giants bid for the foreseeable future.

Microsoft is betting on the acquisition to help it better compete with video game leaders Tencent and Sony.

The deal is facing scrutiny outside the US. The EU opened a full investigation earlier this month. The EU’s competition watchdog said it will make a decision by March 23, 2023, whether to cancel or block the deal.

Britain’s antitrust watchdog said in September it would launch an in-depth investigation.

The acquisition could hurt the industry if Microsoft refuses to give competitors access to Activision’s best-selling games, Britain’s antitrust regulator said.

The deal drew criticism from Sony, the maker of the Playstation console, citing Microsoft’s control of games like Call of Duty.

“Sony, as an industry leader, says it’s concerned about Call of Duty, but we’re committed to making the same game available on the same day for both Xbox and PlayStation,” said Microsoft President and Vice Chairman Brad Smith. said.

A Microsoft spokesperson said: “We are committed to addressing the concerns of regulators, including the FTC, and Sony to ensure that the deal closes with confidence. We will continue to pursue Sony and Tencent in the market after the deal closes, and Activision and Xbox will benefit gamers and developers and make the industry more competitive.” very much.”

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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