Microsoft's Activision Blizzard Acquisition Will Reportedly Be Hit By Federal Antitrust Lawsuit

Microsoft's Activision Blizzard Acquisition Will Reportedly Be Hit By Federal Antitrust Lawsuit

Matt Lorrigan

Microsoft's huge $70 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard is set to be hit by an antitrust lawsuit from the US Federal Trade Commission, according to a report by Politico.

According to the publication's sources, the FTC is looking likely to file the antitrust lawsuit within the next month, in order to block the deal from going through, although as it stands a lawsuit to challenge the deal “is not guaranteed”.

The reasoning behind the possible action is due to concerns that the acqusition would give Microsoft an “unfair boost” compared to its competitors, particularly PlayStation, with the Call of Duty franchise proving to be the biggest talking point.

“Any suggestion that the transaction could lead to anticomp effects is completely absurd. This merger will benefit gamers and the US gaming industry, especially as we face increasingly stiff competition from abroad,” said Activision spokesperson Joe Christinat. 

“We are committed to continuing to work cooperatively with regulators around the globe to allow the transaction to proceed, but will not hesitate to fight to defend the transaction if required.”

According to Politico, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard need to complete the deal by July, to avoid the need to renegotiate the deal. If the FTC filed a lawsuit within the next few months, it would likely stop the deal being completed by July, and could see the two companies change or even abandon the deal.

The FTC isn't the first organisation to challenge Microsoft on the deal, with the UK Competition and Markets Authority also launching an investigation into the deal.

  • Wait, you mean it's NOT a cool and good thing to have an inordinate amount of wealth and control under one company roof? Huh, coulda fooled me with Disney lmao
  • Take the big L Microsoft
  • I'm seriously... they can NOT make an original AAA games like $ony, and living on 2 legacy games that ether are bad or just a racing games and when they make an very good original AAA game, you find out its very short for that price they asking.
    So now, after the big fail to the abyss they start to steal games from Zony or fans like a brat rich from his daddy moneys.
    As a pro gamer not a troll this time, I say: Damn you Micro$oft you are the problem of gaming industry.
  • I called this. From day 1, I told you all that the jawboning by Microsoft execs of continuation of the Activision-Blizzard tentpole franchises was just happy talk -- and a proactive effort to try to avoid a lawsuit by the FTC.

    But, in the end, it doesn't look like the talk is not going to work.

    Anybody with two brain cells to rub together understands that words are cheap and are not any sort of a commitment, and that once the deal is consummated, Microsoft will be free to do whatever they want. The long-term rewards for Microsoft of forcing players who want to play the iconic Activision-Blizzard (and Bethesda) franchises to their console (or gaming on a Windows PC) is FAR greater than the revenue they would miss out on licensing these titles to other consoles. Microsoft is patient and focused on long-term time horizons and goals.

    The FTC certainly senses this, and they are aware of Microsoft's long history of anticompetitive behavior. Lina Khan (the head of the FTC) is an anti-big tech activist. She wants a scalp, and blocking this transaction would make her career.
  • ^^^^
    Sounds like a Microsoft employee...
  • @5 dreadnaught is many things, but a cheerleader or employee for Microsoft are definitely not among those things lol

    I have a feeling this lawsuit won’t end up going through, but admittedly it seems like there’s a good chance it will given who the head of the FTC is (though all the commissioners have to vote on this action as well, I believe). I’m sure Activision will continue to exist just fine if they’re not absorbed, but it will be interesting to see how much longer Bobby Kotick stays at the company if it remains independent
  • What is this "increasingly stiff competition from abroad" mentioned by Christinat? Pretty sure Microsoft and Sony are both trying to get exclusivity deals for whatever they can get, and the closest thing to a CoD game was maybe Crossfire. Remind me who grabbed that as a platform exclusive? Oh, yeah. Microsoft.
  • Great news!
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