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The FTC fails in latest attempt to block Microsoft's Activision Blizzard deal

The regulator tried and failed to seek emergency relief to prevent Microsoft from completing the merger.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

July 17, 2023

1 Min Read
A photograph of Activision's headquarters

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has failed in its latest attempt to block Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

The U.S. regulator last week lost its court battle with Microsoft after Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley found the pending merger won't "substantially lessen competition."

Now, as reported by The Verge, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied the FTC's request for emergency relief to prevent Microsoft from completing the merger until the result of its appeal against that ruling is complete.

The news comes after a U.S. federal judge denied a separate request for a preliminary injunction that would've blocked the deal until the conclusion of another FTC administrative case.

The FTC's latest loss means that Microsoft should have a clear pathway to seal its $68.7 billion purchase of the Call of Duty publisher in the United States.

Microsoft president Brad Smith welcomed the news. "We appreciate the Ninth Circuit’s swift response denying the FTC’s motion to further delay the deal. This brings us another step closer to the finish line in this marathon of global regulatory reviews," he said in a statement issued on Friday.

Microsoft is expected to close the deal by July 18, 2023, unless it wants to risk having to renegotiate terms with Activision Blizzard–although the company still needs to figure out how to appease UK regulator the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which blocked the deal earlier this year.

The Xbox maker is reportedly negotiating with the CMA in a bid to find a resolution and address its cloud gaming concerns. In another win, the company yesterday announced that it has signed a binding agreement with Sony to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for the next decade. 

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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