End of the Road for the FTC in Microsoft’s Activision Acquisition?

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In the light of the recent Federal Judge ruling on Microsoft’s acquisition of gaming titan Activision Blizzard, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) appealed on Wednesday the court order. 

In her decision that came out on Tuesday, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley revealed that the pretense on which the FTC is basing its case against the merger did not deliver adequate support to its claim that it would considerably affect the competitive balance in the gaming market. In her ruling, Corley emphasized that the evidence in the case presented to her solely points to a rise in consumers’ access to Activision Blizzard’s content, with the primary beneficiary being Activision’s popular game, “Call of Duty.”

Had the preliminary injunction been granted, it would have temporarily halted Microsoft’s completion of the Blizzard deal until the resolution of the FTC’s separate administrative case against the company, scheduled to begin on August 2nd.

While the FTC appealed Judge Corley’s ruling, it remains unclear whether the appeal will extend to the existing temporary restraining order, set to expire on July 14th. This situation could help Microsoft proceed with merger without the restraining order taking any effect.

Microsoft’s Vice Chair and President, Brad Smith told The Verge that, “the District Court ruling makes crystal clear that this acquisition is good for both competition and consumers. 

“We’re disappointed that the FTC is continuing to pursue what has become a demonstrably weak case, and we will oppose further efforts to delay the ability to move forward,” he added.

On the other hand, Activision Blizzard’s Chief Communication Officer (CCO) took to Twitter to highlight that “the facts haven’t changed.”

Across the North Atlantic Ocean, the UK is also making its move in this case. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) poses another threat for the Big Tech mogul’s acquisition by previously blocking the deal, asserting that the merger will impact competition in the cloud gaming industry.

Both parties decided to pause all legal battles and imitate the next stage of negotiations after Tuesday’s federal court ruling.

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