Since the reveal in early 2022 that Microsoft intends to acquire Activision Blizzard - an acquisition that would be the industry’s largest if it goes through, at almost $70 billion - countries have been giving their approval for the go-ahead… With a few exceptions.
China’s State Administration for Market Regulation and Ukraine’s Antimonopoly Committee both gave their approval last month, and after overcoming some concerns thanks to proposed solutions by Microsoft, the EU has given its approval too.
Among the dissenters are the UK and the US, who just stepped up their opposition to the deal.
Delaying the deal
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is aiming to block the Activision Blizzard acquisition by Microsoft, already having sued to achieve this. Now CNBC had been informed that the case will be brought to an internal administrative law judge who will make an initial decision, which may then be appealed by Microsoft to the full commission in a federal court.
Ultimately, it appears the FTC seeks to stop the completion of the record-shattering acquisition by its deadline of 18 July. The initial case with the administrative law judge is not expected to take place until August.
"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."
Meanwhile in the UK…
The UK’s CMA decided to refuse the deal with the belief that this would have a negative impact on competition in the cloud gaming space. Similar to the FTC, the CMA has placed a ban on the two companies, meaning the acquisition cannot take place without its permission.
An appeal by Microsoft is due for July 24 and a recent development has revealed that Activision Blizzard will be allowed to add its own arguments to the case. Whether an appeal and team-up will ultimately occur in the US remains to be seen.