U.S. Court Denies the FTC’s Last-Minute Attempt to Stop Microsoft’s Activision Merger

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II

Microsoft has moved past one of the major hurdles stopping it from completing its Activision Blizzard acquisition. After a Californian court denied the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s request for a preliminary injunction earlier this week to block the deal, the FTC has suffered another loss after the Ninth Court of Appeals denied its request to pause the acquisition.

Microsoft President Brad Smith welcomed the decision on Friday. “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,” Smith shared in a statement.

The FTC may now walk away from the fight, Reuters understands. In a similar situation in February with Meta’s acquisition of a virtual reality content maker, the FTC fled after losing in a federal court. The existing merger agreement between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard expires on July 18th. Both parties can leave the deal after July 18th unless an extension period is negotiated.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is yet to approve the deal over concerns that the acquisition will stifle competition in cloud gaming. Microsoft is determined to address the CMA concerns and to get the nod from Britain’s watchdog. On Friday, Microsoft submitted a “detailed and complex” new proposal to the CMA. The CMA said it would try to give a verdict as soon as possible but set a deadline of August 29th.

Microsoft has offered 10-year Call of Duty licences to its rivals, Sony and Nintendo, as it edges closer to completing the biggest acquisition in gaming history.

Image: Activision

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