Microsoft has won an important victory in its battle to acquire Activision Blizzard. Although the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been reluctant to approve the purchase, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley denied a request for an injunction filed by the U.S. regulator after hearing arguments from both sides in separate hearings.
According to a report published by Tom Warren for The Verge, the judge in charge of the case, Jacqueline Scott Corley, has decided to favor Microsoft. Undoubtedly, the battle between Microsoft and the FTC was the most important as it could delay the settlement of the initial proposal between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard.
Thanks to the judge’s decision, Microsoft can complete the $68.7 billion acquisition before the July 18 deadline. However, before taking the final step, the company must still meet one crucial condition. Microsoft must exclude the U.K. market from any deal with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
Microsoft moves ever closer to acquiring Activision Blizzard
The biggest deal in the video game industry’s history has never been so close to happening. The organization led by Satya Nadella had the important task of convincing the U.K. and U.S. competition authorities to give it the green light after getting the go-ahead from a dozen regulators worldwide.
The U.K. regulator publicly opposed it in April this year, believing the deal would harm competition between companies. Redmond responded to that news by accusing the corporation of taking an unusual stance. Bloomberg claims they also began to study the possibility of leaving the U.K. market if necessary.
As for the acquisition of the video game giant behind “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft,” the FTC also expressed its concerns. To be more precise, it stated that it would “allow Microsoft to eliminate competitors to its Xbox game consoles and its rapidly expanding cloud gaming and subscription-based content business.” The response? Block the deal.
The U.S. regulator sought an injunction to stop the merger from accomplishing its goal. In reality, the FTC’s plan did not work out as it intended. After carefully reviewing the case, Judge Scott Corley ruled in favor of Microsoft, allowing the acquisition to go ahead without such an injunction.
Comments on the judge’s ruling in favor of Microsoft
Microsoft’s CEO immediately responded to the court’s support. Although he also stated that his current focus is on the CMA’s possible outcomes. In this regard, he has revealed that he and the British regulator have decided to postpone their current legal dispute to continue talks.
Brad Smith, on his Twitter account, has posted the following message:
“We are grateful to the San Francisco court for this swift and thorough resolution. We are dedicated to using our creativity and teamwork to overcome regulatory problems, as we have repeatedly demonstrated throughout this process.”
Our statement on today's decision: pic.twitter.com/jRDD8PhBeT
— Brad Smith (@BradSmi) July 11, 2023
Recall that a hearing had been set for July 28 because Microsoft had challenged the CMA’s decision to prevent the purchase of Activision, delaying the date for closing the deal. The Xbox owner would have to renegotiate deadlines with Activision or pay a fine for non-compliance, which was a hassle.