FTC likely to sue to block Microsoft’s bid for Activision – Politico

FTC likely to sue to block Microsoft’s bid for Activision – Politico

FTC likely to sue to block Microsoft’s bid for Activision – Politico

Nov 23 (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is likely to file an antitrust lawsuit to block Microsoft Corp’s ( MSFT.O ) $69 billion takeover bid for video game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc ( ATVI.O ), Politico reported. on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

A lawsuit challenging the deal is not guaranteed, and the FTC’s four commissioners have yet to vote on a complaint or meet with lawyers for the companies, the report said, adding that FTC staff reviewing the deal are skeptical of the companies’ arguments.

The FTC did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Reuters.

“We are committed to continuing to work with regulators around the world to allow the transaction to proceed, but will not hesitate to fight to defend the transaction if necessary,” an Activision Blizzard spokesperson said. Any suggestion that the transaction could lead to anti-competitive effects is “absolutely absurd,” the spokesman added.

Shares of Activision fell about 2% in extended trading after closing 1% higher.

Microsoft, maker of the Xbox game console, announced in January its agreement to buy Activision, maker of “Call of Duty” and “Candy Crush” games, in the biggest gaming industry deal in history as global tech giants staked their claim to a virtual future.

Microsoft is banking on the acquisition to help it better compete with video game leaders Tencent ( 0700.HK ) and Sony ( 6758.T ).

The agreement also faces scrutiny outside the United States. The EU opened a full-scale investigation earlier this month. The EU’s competition watchdog said it will decide by March 23, 2023 whether to approve or block the deal.

Britain’s antitrust watchdog said in September it would launch a full-scale investigation.

The acquisition could hurt the industry if Microsoft refuses to give rivals access to Activision’s best-selling games, Britain’s antitrust regulator has said.

The agreement has drawn criticism from Sony, producer of the Playstation console, citing Microsoft’s control over games such as “Call of Duty”.

“Sony, as the industry leader, says they are concerned about ‘Call of Duty,’ but we have said we are committed to making the same game available on the same day on both Xbox and PlayStation,” said Microsoft president and vice president Brad Smith. said.

A Microsoft spokesperson said: “We are prepared to address the concerns of regulators, including the FTC, and Sony to ensure that the deal closes in confidence. We will continue to follow Sony and Tencent in the market after the deal closes, and together with Activision and Xbox will benefit gamers and developers and make the industry more competitive.”

Reporting by Tiyashi Dattaa and Mrinmay Dey in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Leslie Adler

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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