Microsoft wins case against FTC to buy Activision Blizzard
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Featured Image Credit: Microsoft, Activision
It’s official - Microsoft has won its court battle against the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), meaning that the company now has the U.S. regulator's approval to go ahead with its acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
As reported by The Verge, judge Jacqueline Scott Corley has decided to deny the FTC’s preliminary injunction request, which in turn should allow Microsoft to proceed, and close the deal before the looming 18 July deadline. However, things are far from over for the company yet.
If the acquisition goes ahead, Microsoft will own the Call of Duty IP. Take a look at some wins and fails from Call of Duty: Warzone below.
Back in April, it was confirmed that the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had decided to block the proposed acquisition of Activision, based on “concerns the deal would alter the future of the fast-growing cloud gaming market, leading to reduced innovation and less choice for UK gamers over the years to come”. Furthermore, the regulator claimed that Microsoft’s proposal had several “shortcomings”.
At the time of the CMA’s decision, Microsoft president Brad Smith said: “We remain fully committed to this acquisition and will appeal. The CMA's decision rejects a pragmatic path to address competition concerns and discourages technology innovation and investment in the United Kingdom.”
Now then, as The Verge points out, for the deal to be fully finalised, the CMA would have to be willing to negotiate. That, or Microsoft would have to be willing to close around the UK. Following the FTC's court ruling, Smith said in a statement: "After today’s court decision in the U.S., our focus now turns back to the UK. While we ultimately disagree with the CMA’s concerns, we are considering how the transaction might be modified in order to address those concerns in a way that is acceptable to the CMA.
"In order to prioritise work on these proposals, Microsoft and Activision have agreed with the CMA that a stay of the litigation in the UK would be in the public interest and the parties have made a joint submission to the Competition Appeal Tribunal to this effect."
Next steps aside, this is a huge win for Microsoft. Judge Corley ruled: "Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision has been described as the largest in tech history. It deserves scrutiny. That scrutiny has paid off: Microsoft has committed in writing, in public, and in court to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for 10 years on parity with Xbox. It made an agreement with Nintendo to bring Call of Duty to Switch. And it entered several agreements to for the first time bring Activision’s content to several cloud gaming services."
She continued: "The court finds the FTC has not shown a likelihood it will prevail on its claim this particular vertical merger in this specific industry may substantially lessen competition. To the contrary, the record evidence points to more consumer access to Call of Duty and other Activision content."
In an official statement, Smith said: "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. As we’ve demonstrated consistently throughout this process, we are committed to working creatively and collaboratively to address regulatory concerns."