FTC likely to challenge Microsoft/Activision Blizzard deal in antitrust lawsuit

With the UK heavily scrutinizing the Microsoft and Activision Blizzard deal, the FTC will now reportedly join in with an antitrust lawsuit.

Image via Xbox Game Studios

Ever since the beginning of 2022 when Microsoft announced a $68.7 billion deal to acquire Activision Blizzard, the microscope has been focused on said deal in terms of whether it would give Microsoft too much control over the gaming industry. Microsoft and Activision Blizzard, of course, insist otherwise. However, after UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has deeply scrutinized the deal, it appears that USA’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will also file a lawsuit against the deal’s closure under antitrust laws.

Word of the FTC’s intention to file said lawsuit against Microsoft over the Activision Blizzard came via reports from Politico. According to several anonymous sources familiar with the FTC’s plans, it will vote to file a lawsuit against Microsoft which would make the biggest move against the deal on the part of the FTC since Microsoft announced the $68.7 billion USD acquisition at the beginning of 2022. That said, the lawsuit has not been filed yet and is not guaranteed as the FTC’s commissioners have not yet voted on a formal complaint or met with lawyers for the companies. However, sources also shared that the FTC remains skeptical of Microsoft’s arguments in the matter against antitrust regulation.

FTC building
If the FTC files an antitrust lawsuit, it would join UK and EU authorities in ongoing investigations and scrutiny of the Microsoft and Activision Blizzard deal.
Source: Eric Lee / Wall Street Journal

The possible move by the FTC to attempt to block the Microsoft and Activision Blizzard deal would follow hot on the trails of similar investigations and scrutiny in the UK and European Union. The UK’s CMA shared concerns of market power should the deal go through, and despite Microsoft calling said concerns misplaced, the EU went on to open up its own investigation into the deal which has put further pressure on its closure.

Microsoft was still hoping to close the Activision Blizzard deal by Spring 2023 at the end of its fiscal year. With investigations and possible lawsuits continuing, it remains to be seen if it can stick to this deadline. Stay tuned as we continue to follow for further updates and details.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at tj.denzer@shacknews.com and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

From The Chatty
    • reply
      November 28, 2022 9:09 AM

      Of all the mergers that have happened in the last decade or two, this one is the one that is going to get scrutiny and not just rubber stamped away? Just because some people are afraid they might not get a future version of Call of Duty?

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        November 28, 2022 9:14 AM

        Gaming is a $200B/year industry. Microsoft and Activision/Blizzard are HUGE players in the space.

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          November 28, 2022 9:28 AM

          We could rattle off media conglomerates all day long. AT&T, Comcast, Disney, etc.

          And that's just media.

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            November 28, 2022 9:29 AM

            Maybe not all day long, that was a bad way to word it. You get the point.

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            November 28, 2022 9:46 AM

            Yeah, and they should have also been scrutinized.

            The FTC has been lax in its application of antitrust law.

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              November 28, 2022 9:47 AM

              Hopefully this is the beginning of more scrutiny across the board. Something tells me it's not.

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        November 28, 2022 9:28 AM

        FTC board have kids that are salty Sony fans.

      • reply
        November 28, 2022 9:49 AM

        don't think of the games, think of the money they bring in, and whether it's being earned competitively

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