Microsoft acquisition of Activision likely to be sued by the feds
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Featured Image Credit: Activision, Studio Nova/NHK, Microsoft
I still find it pretty funny that arguably the biggest gaming news of 2022 came within the first few weeks of the year. Microsoft dropped the bombshell back in January that the company is planning to buy out Activision Blizzard for a whopping $68.7 billion in the biggest gaming acquisition of all time.
This colossal acquisition would quite literally be a game changer if it goes through - it’d mean that Microsoft would own IPs such as Overwatch, Crash Bandicoot and even Call of Duty. Sony has been understandably worried about CoD and the possibility that it could be turned into an Xbox exclusive franchise, but Xbox boss Phil Spencer has reiterated multiple times now that this shouldn’t be a concern for gamers.
Speaking of Call of Duty, take a look at some new gameplay footage from Modern Warfare II below.
Anyway, with an acquisition as huge as this, it’s little wonder that the deal is being carefully scrutinised by regulators to make sure that it’s actually fair on the rest of the games industry, or if Microsoft owning the rights to every Activision franchise would make the company basically untouchable. Unfortunately for Microsoft, it’s looking more and more like they might not be given the go ahead.
According to Politico, three insiders claim that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is likely to block the acquisition with an antitrust lawsuit. Reportedly, the staff who are currently reviewing the deal are uncertain about the company’s arguments and are concerned about the buyout's impact on competitors such as Sony. As of now though, they apparently haven’t met with Microsoft or Activision’s lawyers or voted out a complaint, so nothing is set in stone.
Politico writes that Microsoft's acquisition of Activision isn’t expected to be complete until spring 2023 at the earliest - the companies apparently have until next July to close it without renegotiations. This means that if a lawsuit was filed soon, it’d be unlikely to be sorted out by then, which could potentially put the entire deal in jeopardy - forcing the companies to bail on it. With the FTC's intentions currently unknown (publicly, at least), we’ll just have to wait and see what’s decided.