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Microsoft and Activision Blizzard implore FTC to halt case against merger

The FTC is still trying to block the deal, but Microsoft and Activision Blizzard have suggested it's time to throw in the towel.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

July 20, 2023

2 Min Read
The Activision Blizzard logo on a black background

Microsoft and Activision Blizzard have filed a motion urging the FTC to stop trying to block their proposed merger.

As spotted by Reuters, the motion essentially implores the FTC to throw in the towel after the U.S. regulator lost its court battle with Microsoft, clearing the way for the Xbox maker to proceed with its $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

Despite losing in court after failing to convince a judge the deal will harm consumers, the FTC is still attempting to block the merger and has scheduled an evidentiary hearing on August 2 so it can present the case before an FTC administrative law judge.

The FTC also submitted a request for emergency relief to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals but was ultimately denied, while a separate request for a preliminary injunction that would've blocked the deal until its evidentiary hearing had taken place was also rebuffed.

Microsoft and Activision Blizzard want the FTC to call it quits

After failing on those fronts, Microsoft and Activision now want the FTC to halt its legal proceedings and suggest that doing so is in the "public interest."

"Withdrawal would advance the public interest and the core purpose of Rule 3.26(c). After a five-day evidentiary hearing, the district court found that the FTC is unlikely to succeed on any of the theories of competitive harm advanced in its Complaint for multiple, independently sufficient reasons," reads the motion, shared on the FTC website.

Microsoft also claims the fact that it recently signed a binding deal with Sony to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for the next decade is another reason for the FTC to drop the case, noting that the Japanese company was the "principal complainant against the transaction."

The Xbox maker yesterday extended its merger deadline until October 18, 2023, so it can deal with any remaining regulatory issues. "We will honor all commitments agreed upon with the EC and other regulators and continue to work with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on the issues raised in the UK," said Microsoft president Brad Smith in a statement. "We are confident about our prospects for getting this deal across the finish line."

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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