Microsoft And Xbox Win Case Against FTC To Acquire Activision Blizzard
After five days of testimony last month, California Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley has denied the Federal Trade Commission's request for a preliminary injunction in its case to block Microsoft and Xbox from acquiring Activision Blizzard.
The FTC sought a preliminary injunction in an effort to have the court order Microsoft to cease its attempt at acquiring the Call of Duty maker for a colossal $69 billion. Now that the FTC's request has been denied by the Court, the regulator has until the end of July 14 to appeal the decision, as reported by The Verge. With this ruling, Microsoft can now close its acquisition of Activision Blizzard before its July 18 deadline, although it still has to figure out how it's going to handle the decision from The Competition and Markets Authority in the U.K. to block the purchase over cloud gaming concerns.
Microsoft can theoretically close before July 18 without including the U.K. in its market, or it can attempt to negotiate a deal with the CMA to quell the regulator's concerns, as noted by The Verge. However, that seems unlikely, as Microsoft has a hearing on July 28 to appeal the regulator's decision. Outside of the U.K., the European Commission approved the proposed acquisition in May.
Here's what the Judge has to say in their opinion denying the preliminary injunction today:
Following the release of the Judge's decision, Microsoft vice chair and president Brad Smith released the following statement on Twitter:
Xbox head Phil Spencer the following on Twitter today regarding the ruling:
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said the following in a statement obtained by The Verge:
Game Informer reached out to Activision Blizzard for a statement from either the company or Kotick regarding today's ruling and will update the story if comment or a statement is received. It has also reached out to the FTC for comment regarding today's ruling and will update the story if comment is received.
The Verge received the following from FTC spokesperson Douglas Farrar:
Following today's ruling, Microsoft announced it will pause its appeal efforts against the CMA so that the two parties can negotiate a potential agreement regarding the proposed Activision Blizzard acquisition that satisfies both.
For more about Microsoft's ongoing efforts to acquire Activision Blizzard, read about how Spencer said it's been a learning experience back in June and then read about how Microsoft said in December that the FTC violates the constitution by trying to block the acquisition (although it did walk that claim back later).
During the five days of testimony that happened last month for this case, we learned that Bethesda's Indiana Jones game will be exclusive to Xbox and PC and that Microsoft had, at one point, considered acquiring Sega, Bungie, IO Interactive, and more to bolster the Xbox audience.
Do you agree with the Judge's ruling? Let us know in the comments below!