The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed an injunction with the country’s Federal Court, in an attempt to prevent the US$68.7 billion (RM318 billion) deal between Microsoft and Activision. The decision to block the former’s acquisition of the latter comes after the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) made its own decision to block the same deal, as well as step up the pressure on the deal.
This isn’t the first time the FTC has moved against the Microsoft acquisition of Blizzard. Prior to this, it filed an antitrust lawsuit against the dealing, with a hearing scheduled to take place on 2 August. That date works in favour for the US government body, seeing how it goes well beyond the contractual deadline of the two entities, which is set to expire on 18 July. That being said, the worst thing that the two companies will have to do is to renegotiate their terms.
Today’s action by the FTC to file suit in our Activision case in federal court should accelerate the decision-making process. This benefits everyone. We always prefer constructive and amicable paths with governments but have confidence in our case and look forward to presenting…
— Brad Smith (@BradSmi) June 12, 2023
In spite of the latest injunction filing, both Microsoft and Blizzard believe that the FTC’s injunction will only expedite the acquisition process. One reason behind the positive response by both companies is probably due to the fact that both heads, Microsoft’s Brad Smith and Activision Blizzard’s Bobby Kotick, are of the belief that the judge presiding the case will rule in their favour.
It goes without saying that there are some who are opposed to the Microsoft and Blizzard acquisition, Sony PlayStation being one such company. The Japanese brand is fearful that, upon finalising the acquisition, the parent company of Xbox would then find ways to prevent the popular Call of Duty franchise from being made available on PlayStation consoles, or think up ways to dampen the experience on PlayStation versions of future titles.
One piece of evidence that does prove Blizzard’s success outside of the Microsoft acquisition is with the recently launched Diablo IV. The game set an all-time record high for the company, earning it more than US$666 million (~RM3.08 billion) in just five days, making it the company’s fastest-selling title to date.
On another note, Microsoft has had some success with its acquisition plans for Blizzard outside of the US and UK. Last month, the companies received the thumbs up from the EU, provided that it is done in “full compliance with the former’s commitments”.
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