Appeals court denies FTC bid to delay Microsoft-Activision acquisition

One of the last major hurdles to the Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard appears to have been cleared.


One of the final obstacles impeding the Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard appears to have been cleared. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has denied a motion from the Federal Trade Commission, which sought to appeal the court ruling from earlier this week that ruled in favor of Microsoft. With the FTC now apparently out of the way for good, the only major remaining hurdle for the acquisition is the United Kingdom's Competition and Markets Authority.

Microsoft's Brad Smith's statement on the denial of the FTC's appeal

Source: Twitter

"We appreciate the Ninth Circuit’s swift response denying the FTC’s motion to further delay the deal," Vice Chair and President of Microsoft Brad Smith said on Twitter (via CNBC). "This brings us another step closer to the finish line in this marathon of global regulatory reviews."

After the U.S. District Court in Northern California ruled in favor of Microsoft, the FTC filed an appeal within hours of the decision. FTC chair Lina Khan's team argued that the district judge "denied preliminary relief, applying the wrong legal standard: the court effectively required the FTC to prove its full case on the merits with the court as arbiter of the merger's legality."

Depending on who one asks, the Microsoft deal to acquire Activision Blizzard could close as early as next week. Only the UK CMA remains as a primary objector and Microsoft has been in intense negotiations to clear any egregious issues. However, that may take slightly longer, as the final deadline for a decision was extended to August earlier today.

Those interested can read the full Ninth Circuit decision. The Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard continues to be one of the biggest stories in gaming and technology today. We'll continue to follow this story as it develops.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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