ftc lawsuit: FTC likely to file lawsuit to block Microsoft’s bid to acquire Activision: report

US Federal Trade CommissionFTC) is likely to file an antitrust lawsuit to block Microsoft Corp’s $69 billion takeover bid for video game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc.It is reported by Politico, citing sources familiar with the situation.

The report said litigation challenging the deal is not guaranteed and the four FTC commissioners have not yet voted on the complaint or met with the companies’ lawyers, adding that FTC officials reviewing the deal are skeptical of the companies’ arguments.

The FTC did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

“We intend to continue to work with regulators around the world to ensure the transaction goes through, but will not hesitate to fight to protect the transaction if necessary,” an Activision Blizzard spokesperson said. Any suggestion that the deal could have anti-competitive effects is “completely absurd,” the spokesman added. Activision shares fell about 2% in extended trading after closing 1% higher.

Microsoft, maker of the Xbox video game console, announced in January that it had acquired Activision, maker of Call of Duty and Candy Crush games, in what was the biggest deal in the gaming industry in history, with global tech giants betting on a virtual future.

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Microsoft bets on acquisition to better compete with video game leaders tencent as well as sony.

The deal is also under scrutiny outside the US. The EU launched a full-scale investigation earlier this month. The EU Competition Commissioner said he would decide by March 23, 2023 whether to go through with the deal or block it.

The UK competition authority said in September it would launch a full-scale investigation.

The acquisition could hurt the industry if Microsoft refuses to give competitors access to Activision’s best-selling games, the UK antitrust regulator said.

The deal drew criticism from Sony, the maker of the Playstation console, citing Microsoft’s control over games like Call of Duty.

“Sony, as an industry leader, says it’s concerned about Call of Duty, but we’ve said we’re committed to making the same game available on the same day on Xbox and PlayStation,” Microsoft President and Vice Chairman Brad . Smith said.

A Microsoft spokesperson said: “We are ready to answer questions from regulators, including the FTC and Sony, to ensure the deal closes with confidence. We will continue to follow Sony and Tencent in the market after the closing of the deal, and together with Activision and Xbox, will benefit gamers and developers and make the industry more competitive.”

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