The Federal Trade Commission has been refused a preliminary inunction to block Microsoft’s planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard in the US, which means the Xbox console maker is now free to acquire the publishing giant.
Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, commented:
Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision has been described as the largest in tech history. It deserves scrutiny. That scrutiny has paid off: Microsoft has committed in writing, in public, and in court to keep Call of Dury on PlayStation for 10 years on parity with Xbox. It made an agreement with Nintendo to bring Call of Dury to Switch. And it entered several agreements to for the first time bring Activision’s content to several cloud gaming services.
This Court’s responsibility in this case is narrow. It is to decide if, notwithstanding these current circumstances, the merger should be halted perhaps even terminated pending resolution of the FIC administrative action. For the reasons explained, the Court finds the FTC has not shown a likelihood it will prevail on its claim this particular vertical merger in this specific industry may substantially lessen competition. To the contrary, the record evidence points to more consumer access to Call of Duty and other Activision content. The motion for a preliminary injunction is therefore DENIED.
Brad Smith, President of Microsoft, commented:
We’re grateful to the Court in San Francisco for this quick and thorough decision and hope other jurisdictions will continue working towards a timely resolution. As we’ve demonstrated consistently throughout this process, we are committed to working creatively and collaboratively to address regulatory concerns.
This is obviously a massive victory for Microsoft in its plans to acquire the Call of Duty publisher, although the CMA has still blocked the acquisition in the UK. However, Bobby Kotick revealed that he expects an ‘accelerated‘ appeal process following the block, and deal has still been approved in key regions such as Europe.
[Source – VGC]