US FTC will file injunction to block Microsoft & Activision Blizzard deal

The Federal Trade Commission and UK's CMA are two of the last holdouts in the way of the deal going through.


As Microsoft and Activision Blizzard continue to work around competition and market authorities worldwide for its merger, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has signaled it will file an injunction to block the deal. One of the last major barriers to the deal’s completion, the FTC previously sued Microsoft to block the $68.7 billion USD deal. However, now it will bring the case before its internal administrative law judge (ALJ) which may lead to initial decision that allows for the full commission to vote for or against the deal.

The FTC’s decision to file an injunction against the Microsoft and Activision Blizzard deal was reported by CNBC, as shared by sources familiar with the FTC’s activities. In filing the injunction, the FTC would aim to block the deal from closing before a July 18 deadline. The deal would then go before an ALJ in August. Despite the injunction’s intention to delay the deal’s close, Microsoft told CNBC it welcomes the FTC’s injunction because it will allow the company to appeal the case and bring it before a federal judge faster. If it reaches that point, Microsoft signaled confidence that it will come out ahead in its appeal.

Xbox Cloud Gaming
Microsoft's strength in the cloud gaming market has been a central qualm in remaining opposition to the deal from the CMA and FTC.
Source: Xbox

The FTC has remained as one of the final blocks to Microsoft’s deal. It was back in November 2022 that the US market authority signaled its intention to sue Microsoft over the deal and stop it from going forward. The FTC followed in saying that a settlement with Microsoft was unlikely as the two entities had not had “substantive talks” on the matter.

Alongside the FTC, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has also remained stalwart in not approving the deal, citing concerns about Microsoft’s strong position in the cloud gaming market. Nonetheless, Microsoft has also readied up against the CMA with a lawyer known for overturning the authority’s rulings.

Microsoft looks ready to continue its efforts in court with both the CMA and FTC in spite of matters like the seemingly upcoming injunction. Stay tuned as we continue to watch for the latest updates and news on the deal.

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 and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    June 12, 2023 10:30 AM

    TJ Denzer posted a new article, US FTC will file injunction to block Microsoft & Activision Blizzard deal

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      June 12, 2023 8:57 AM

      yeah, this is stupid. wtf MS

      we don't need snapchat filters in meetings

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        June 12, 2023 8:59 AM

        Old shack is not the only audience for this app.

        Slack had something similar (and equally cringy) for a while too.

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        June 12, 2023 9:45 AM

        it looks like it might be fun so corporate IT will be able to block it

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        June 12, 2023 9:50 AM


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        June 12, 2023 9:58 AM


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        June 12, 2023 10:10 AM

        Whatever happened to bringing Teams into the Metaverse?

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          June 12, 2023 10:11 AM

          they showed teams running on the vision pro using avatars in a mtg

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        June 12, 2023 10:45 AM

        that dude is trying to smile way too hard. creepy.

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          June 12, 2023 10:46 AM

          that's just mike. has always been like that, before video

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            June 12, 2023 10:48 AM

            you've met him irl? i'm not sure i could be in the same room if that's his resting axe-killer face.

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              June 12, 2023 10:49 AM

              yes, he used to run a bunch of the partner initatives (still does - video isn't his full time job) and he was part of the whole ODF/OOXML stuff and I was very involved with that

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        June 12, 2023 10:48 AM

        scope creep due to demand from YOUTHS.

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        June 12, 2023 11:06 AM

        why was this moved under a MS / AB story? MODS? wtf

    • reply
      June 12, 2023 10:27 AM

      FTC will try to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard


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        June 12, 2023 10:36 AM

        I'm not a fan of tons of consolidation so good I guess

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        June 12, 2023 10:36 AM

        Good! The deal is bad for gamers, games, and devs.

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          June 12, 2023 11:10 AM

          People can lol this all they want, but I’m curious about what they think is positive about it. Maybe you get a couple more games on gamepass, but that is really shortsighted. When they have all the IP (none of which they made in-house) not only are they more likely to ruin it by not understanding game development but they will also be free to charge gamers whatever they want. I don’t get the love some people have for giant corporations buying up all the games. It will also lead to suppressed salaries for developers who will have drastically reduced options for moving between studios.

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            June 12, 2023 12:23 PM

            It would improve work conditions for the devs at Activision Blizzard, Microsoft is more willing to explore Activision Blizzard ip catalog beyond COD, Diablo and Overwatch. Microsoft will push to include accessibility options that are lacking in current Activision Blizzard games.

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              June 12, 2023 3:24 PM

              You are making a huge assumption about conditions at MS being better and I wonder how informed it is. Microsoft is the company that froze salaries this year despite making billions in profit, so all employees ended up losing significant money because of inflation. As for exploring the catalog, MS is like any publisher in that they will only invest in what makes them money, there are no “passion projects” at the publisher level. I agree with you about the accessibility stuff though, that is one positive I could see.

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                June 12, 2023 4:36 PM

                Yeah it seems like a super naive statement.

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              June 12, 2023 3:29 PM

              The Blizzard side usually does pretty well with accessibility options in their games though, did I miss something?

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          June 12, 2023 12:10 PM

          Of course it is. Not sure what arguments the pro-consolidation people can come up with.

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            June 12, 2023 12:25 PM

            As it stands, ActiBlizzKing is one of the worst companies in the industry, so support comes from the viewpoint that Microsoft buying them can't make things any worse.

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              June 12, 2023 12:51 PM

              How are they "one of the worst companies in the industry?"

              Is it a sweat shop? Are people being forced to work slave labor there?

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                June 12, 2023 1:53 PM

                Just because they have a nice looking cube and a free pizza every once in awhile doesn't mean their work conditions are peachy.

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          June 12, 2023 4:12 PM

          I think it can be good for devs, if they are able to pull through with this cloud gaming vision, they'll be opening gaming to an insane amount of new people. but part of that vision requires having an actual libray of games, and unfortunately that requires buying studios, cause they found out making new ones is really hard last gen

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            June 12, 2023 4:33 PM

            Smaller pool of companies, less competition for talent, lower wages overall.

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            June 12, 2023 6:29 PM

            it is really cool how libraries don't have to own publishers

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              June 12, 2023 10:16 PM

              they do if they want to guarantee the games on cloud/gamepass. right now its a good library, but it can be better

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          June 12, 2023 4:46 PM

          I get this feeling, but where the fuck was the FTC on all the other mergers?

          For example, by the same argument, Activision Blizzard should not have merged to begin with.

          IMHO it feels like the FTC doesn’t give a fuck about gamers in this case, so all the mergers will continue.

          Their litmus test of if it is a bad merger is basically if a big company complains, which proves the real owners of the market are the big companies, and the market is already too damaged. Denying this merger will not fix that.

          TLDR; the market needs bigger fixes, if we only started now, then in a vacuum all this does is help Sony.

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        June 12, 2023 10:58 AM

        It’s the wrong type of consolidation for the game industry. I’m more for acquiring smaller, individual studios to allow them to grow and expand their output.

        But as I’ve said many times before, Microsoft could have had all this approved ages ago if they had agreed to spin off the Game Studios/GP/Xbox business as a separate or multiple separate entities. The only reason why Microsoft wouldn’t want to do that is so it can keep them on as a tax write-off while they gain strength enough to eventually be spun off later when it’s more profitable for the shareholders. Hence this big protracted fight, which wouldn’t have had to happen otherwise.

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          June 12, 2023 11:07 AM

          they are not spinning off Xbox games from MS. that would be like Amazon spinning off AWS. It's just not happening.

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            June 12, 2023 11:18 AM

            It could eventually be a lucrative offer for shareholders.

            I fully recall all the spin-offs that occurred back in the 90s M&A era, when interest rates were high and the FTC had more teeth. It overall was advantageous for investors but also somewhat of a necessity when you could equally have a money market account at 7-8% interest.

            But not right now and that is what MSFT is fighting over, no matter what the press wants to paint this as. Xbox and GP need the parent company money, but there are ways it could be structured to still provide them with that cash. Just not as lucratively for the parent company.

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          June 12, 2023 5:58 PM

          It’s hard to tell what MS is even competing for because their game division is still small comparatively

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            June 12, 2023 6:48 PM

            That’s why I feel it’s mostly a targeted tax write down. If they spun it off, they couldn’t do that so simply anymore, plus would potentially be losing out on very large sums that could be made later on a more timely spinoff. The game division is the opposite of a cash cow right now.

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      June 12, 2023 11:09 AM

      Is this objectively a good or bad deal? I don’t follow this stuff closely. I asked this question a few weeks ago with no real responses so I’ll ask it again.

      It seems like a lot of gamers, Shackers etc are favoring the merger?

      How does this practically impact users? Who benefits other than Microsoft?

      I’m not asking this to be provocative. It’s just that my gut intuition is that consolidation of large companies and organization is not a net benefit in other situations.

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        June 12, 2023 5:10 PM

        could impact users in a positive way as it might give resources to the devs

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      June 12, 2023 11:54 AM

      As much as I want AB to change its ways and I think that could happen under MS and as much as I want AB IPs on Game Pass - The merging of existing conglomerates to form a new mega-corp is not really good in the long run for anyone other than the mega-corp.

      I think this is the right decision.

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      June 12, 2023 12:32 PM

      This is the right decision. But I want them to do more. I want them to break apart some of the M&As that have already happened. Vertical integration is fucking over the consumer.

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      June 12, 2023 4:04 PM

      They have actually filed today

      Shirt answer is that as the deal was to close on July 18 barring any other national concerns (like the UK one), the FTC doesn't trust either company to hold to that delay. There will be atrial later in August to review the FTC's full complaint and MS's response.

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