FTC wants to block Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard

Credit: AronPW

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed a lawsuit to block Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of gaming giant Activision Blizzard.

The application in federal court in San Francisco seeks an injunction and an injunction for the proposed acquisition. Activision Blizzard makes hit games like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and the recently released Diablo IV. It also owns the popular Guitar Hero franchise, which saw its latest addition in 2015. Subsequent servers for previously released Guitar Hero games have been shut down and are now only playable on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console.

Microsoft struggled to win the favor of governments around the world with this acquisition. Regulators in the United States and the United Kingdom argue that this could stifle competition in the video game market. To allay those fears, Microsoft has agreed to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo for at least ten years.

The contract between Microsoft and Activision stipulates that the deal must be closed by July 18th. In its injunction, the FTC argues that if the deal closes before that date, it would be difficult or near impossible to reverse course.

“Microsoft and Activision Blizzard have said in the past that they are unable to complete their deal due to antitrust reviews of the transaction in other jurisdictions,” the FTC said in a statement opinion. “But Microsoft and Activision have given no assurances that they will maintain that position. In light of this, and the public news that Microsoft and Activision Blizzard are considering closing their deal soon, we have filed a request for an injunction to prevent the closing while our investigation is ongoing.”

UK regulators decided earlier this year to block the takeover. Meanwhile, European regulators representing the 27-nation bloc approved the acquisition on condition that Microsoft promise to boost competition in the cloud gaming market. China, Japan, Brazil and South Korea have each given their approval to the deal.