Microsoft’s biggest acquisition runs in troubled waters in the US

The US Federal Trade Commission is trying to stop Microsoft‘s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, requesting an injunction to prevent the merger from closing.
In December, the FTC tried to stop Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard through a legal challenge. Now, the FTC is requesting a temporary restraining order and injunction from a US federal district court before the deal’s deadline of July 18.
“Both a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction are necessary because Microsoft and Activision have represented that they may consummate the proposed acquisition at any time,” reads the FTC’s complaint.
According to the FTC, if Microsoft acquires Activision Blizzard, it could potentially harm competitors like Sony by making their popular games exclusive to Xbox gaming consoles. However, Microsoft has from time to time addressed the concerns, and even partnered with different cloud gaming platforms, winning the EU’s seal of approval.
“We welcome the opportunity to present our case in federal court,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said. “We believe accelerating the legal process in the US will ultimately bring more choice and competition to the market.”
“We believe accelerating the legal process in the US will ultimately bring more choice and competition to the market.”
Addressing employees, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said that Monday’s actions were “a positive development in our merger progress” because it “accelerates the legal process.”
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority’s decision to block the merger will be appealed this summer, right after the acquisition deadline.
Although, last month, European regulators approved the deal, allowing Microsoft to potentially close it without any issues in the UK or a US injunction preventing it from closing.
The decision now rests with the US judge on whether to impose a temporary restraining order to prevent Microsoft from finalising the deal for two weeks. Additionally, a preliminary injunction may be issued to avoid Microsoft from closing the sale until the outcome of the FTC’s legal challenge. The hearing is set for August 2 after Microsoft’s UK appeal hearing.
If Microsoft fails to close the deal successfully, it will be obligated to pay $3 billion in breakup fees to Activision Blizzard.

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