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FTC awarded temporary restraining order to halt Microsoft's Activision Blizzard deal

Microsoft will now be unable to close the deal until a court has considered the FTC's request for a preliminary injunction.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

June 14, 2023

2 Min Read
A photograph of Activision's headquarters

Microsoft has been hit with a temporary restraining order that will prevent it from completing its $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard before the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has had its say.

As highlighted by The Verge, the FTC sought out the restraining order to stop Microsoft and Activision Blizzard from pushing the deal through while the court considers its request for a preliminary injunction.

A District Court in California granted the request and stated that it's "necessary to maintain the status quo while the [FTC's] complaint is pending."

The terms of the merger state the deal should complete before July 18, 2023, but the FTC has sued Microsoft to block the deal over competition concerns.

"Microsoft and Activision shall not close or consummate their proposed transition or a substantially similar transaction until after 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on the fifth business day after the Court rules on the FTC's request for a preliminary injunction under Federal Trade Commission Act 13(b), 15 U.S.C. 53(b), or a date set by the Court, whichever is later," reads the ruling.

"Microsoft and Activision shall prevent any of their officers, directors, domestic or foreign agents, divisions, subsidiaries, affiliates, partnerships, or joint ventures, from closing or consummating, directly or indirectly, the proposed transaction or a substantially similar transaction."

In a statement handed to The Verge, a Microsoft spokesperson said the temporary restraining order "makes sense" and will help accelerate the legal process.

"Accelerating the legal process in the US will ultimately bring more choice and competition to the gaming market," said Microsoft spokesperson David Cuddy. "A temporary restraining order makes sense until we can receive a decision from the Court, which is moving swiftly."

The deal has been approved in some major regions including the European Union and Japan, but was just weeks ago blocked by UK regulator the Competition and Markets Authority over fears the move will allow Microsoft to dominate the emerging cloud gaming market. Microsoft intends to appeal that decision.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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