Technology Judge denies injunction in Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard

Judge denies injunction in Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard


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A judge has denied the Federal Trade Commission’s request for a preliminary injunction to block the upcoming merger between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard. While the FTC can still appeal this decision, this is a major win in favor of the takeover.

Had the FTC won, it would have prevented the two companies from closing the deal before the Aug. 2 hearings original agreement includes a termination date of July 18. During last week’s hearings, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick confirmed that the company’s board saw no way forward to finalize the deal if the judge granted the injunction.

“The responsibility of this Court in this case is limited. It is to decide whether, despite these current circumstances, the merger should be halted — perhaps even terminated — pending resolution of the FTC administrative action,” Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley concluded in her decision. “For the reasons set forth, the Court finds that the FTC has not shown that it is likely to prevail over its claim that this particular vertical merger in this particular industry can significantly reduce competition. Rather, the record evidence points to increased consumer access to Call of Duty and other Activision content. The request for a preliminary injunction is therefore REJECTED.”

Responses to pronunciation

Both Activision Blizzard and Microsoft issued statements in response to the ruling praising the judge’s ruling.

“We are grateful to the court for the way this process was handled and the thoughtfulness of the decision. The US joins the 38 countries where our deal can go ahead – these decisions are based on facts and data that show our merger is good for players and for competition in the industry,” Kotick wrote in a statement. blog post. “We are optimistic that today’s ruling marks a path to full regulatory approval elsewhere in the world, and we stand ready to work with UK regulators to address any remaining concerns so that our merger can be completed swiftly .”

Similarly, Phil Spencer weighed in on Twitter.

Meanwhile, the FTC expressed disappointment with the outcome, claiming that the merger threatened open competition for cloud gaming, subscription services and consoles. “In the coming days, we will announce our next step to continue our fight to preserve competition and protect consumers,” said an FTC spokesperson.

British response

In addition to the FTC, the British Competition and Markets Authority has also issued a preliminary ruling to block the merger. However, that resistance seems to be crumbling.

The CMA blocked Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard in April, with an appeals hearing scheduled for July 28. In response to the US ruling, Microsoft and the CMA have agreed to pause the appeals process to find solutions that address the CMA’s cloud gaming. to assure.

While the deal hasn’t closed yet, today’s ruling gives Microsoft and Activision Blizzard a clearer path to completing the merger.

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