According to a report by CNBC, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is planning to try and block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which is valued at $68.7 billion. The move follows the UK Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) decision to block the acquisition in the UK.
The FTC is expected to file for an injunction on Monday 13 June 2023 in an attempt to stop the acquisition from proceeding. The deadline for the deal, which was announced in January 2022, is 18 July 2023.
Possible Appeal by Microsoft
Microsoft is planning to make an appeal to the UK CMA in July. If the FTC is successful in blocking the deal in the US, Microsoft may also appeal to the US Federal Court.
In a statement to CNBC, Microsoft President Brad Smith said, “We welcome the opportunity to present our case in federal court. We believe accelerating the legal process in the US will ultimately bring more choice and competition to the market.”
Concerns about Competition
The UK CMA blocked the merger due to concerns that it would harm competition, particularly in the cloud gaming services sector. The CMA stated that the merger would make an already strong incumbent in this market even stronger.
Microsoft and its Xbox division have been increasing their partnerships with other cloud gaming services in recent months, likely in response to these concerns. However, it is unclear what the primary concern of the FTC is at this stage.
More information is expected to be released soon regarding the FTC’s decision and the aftermath of the ruling. The potential blocking of the acquisition in the US would be a significant setback for Microsoft and its plans for the future of Xbox.