Okay, here’s a pre-Thanksgiving stunner. According to political man, the Federal Trade Commission will “likely” try to stop Microsoft’s attempt to buy Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. The agency is likely to file an antitrust suit next month. If the FTC makes such a move, it would be a major stumbling block to the deal.
The report added that the FTC’s four commissioners have not yet voted on whether to file a lawsuit. The agency has not yet met with attorneys from Microsoft or Activision Blizzard about the possibility. Although, political man FTC employees are said to have questioned some of Microsoft’s and Activision’s claims.
The FTC would be particularly concerned about whether the merger would give Microsoft an unfair advantage in the video game industry. As things stand, Xbox is the third largest player in the gaming market after PlayStation and Tencent.
Microsoft and Activision have tried to downplay the importance of the deal, which is again worth $68.7 billion. Sony has claimed that if Microsoft keeps games like Call of Duty away from PlayStation, Sony will suffer a big loss.
If Microsoft removes Call of Duty from PlayStation, Sony may have to bear the loss of millions of dollars annually. However, Microsoft said it offered Sony a deal earlier this month to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for 10 years.
Microsoft has also said the Activision deal is more about helping it become a player in mobile gaming. Candy Crush Saga) instead of improving their PC or console offerings. It wants to keep Activision Blizzard titles on Game Pass.
Microsoft and Sony have been throwing mud at each other in registration dossiers in several countries in recent months. They both picked facts to support their arguments. For example, Microsoft claims that Call of Duty is not an essential game for Sony and that PlayStation can do no harm if you put it on Game Pass.
Activision disputed claims that the deal would also negatively impact competition. Activision spokesman Joe Kristinat said, “Any suggestion that the transaction could create an antitrust effect is utterly preposterous.” political man“This merger will benefit gamers and the US gaming industry, especially as we face increasingly fierce competition from abroad.”
Last month, one of the FTC’s Republican members quit, meaning the agency has three Democratic commissioners and one Republican. Noah Phillips, who left his position as Commissioner, resisted several attempts by FTC Chairman Leena Khan to rein in the power of the tech industry. For example, he voted against a lawsuit that tries to block purchases within Meta’s VR startup called Unlimited. In other words, if Khan wants to file an antitrust suit against the Microsoft-Activation Blizzard deal, he will now face less resistance from other commissioners.
political man says the FTC is at the forefront of its antitrust investigation, which could begin as early as February. The agency has reportedly already heard testimony from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Activision counterpart Bobby Kotick.
FTC regulators have different concerns about the Microsoft Activation deal than Call of Duty. “Researchers are trying to determine how Microsoft might take advantage of future unannounced titles to promote its gaming business.” political man it has been said. Regulators in the UK and the EU are also keeping a close eye on the acquisition, meaning it will at least be spring before Microsoft and Activision can close the deal, if at all.
I’ve been saying since the announcement that the planned merger is far from a done deal, but any FTC lawsuit could be the death knell. political man Note that if the FTC files an antitrust suit by the end of the year or in January, it’s unlikely to be resolved before July — which is after the deadline set by Microsoft and Activision for closing the deal. If this happened, the companies would have to renegotiate their agreement or they would have to abandon the merger.
Again, there is no guarantee that the FTC will try to block the merger. but of politics The coverage is mostly solid and there’s no smoke without fire. We’ll have to wait and see how things go in the coming weeks and months.
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