Microsoft and Activision Blizzard deal ruling to be appealed by FTC (updated)

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The Xbox logo and a character from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
Credit: Activision and Xbox.

Since Microsoft announced its plans to acquire Activision Blizzard, the publisher of Call of Duty and Overwatch, for $68.7 billion, it’s been grappling with legislators around the world to gain permission to close that deal.

Recently, the company has faced scrutiny from the American Federal Trade Commission in court, with the proceedings having revealed some interesting behind-the-scenes information about Microsoft’s relationship with Activision and past acquisition targets, as well as PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan’s thoughts on Starfield’s exclusivity.

Now, following a ruling in Microsoft’s favour after five days of testimony, the FTC has filed a notice announcing that it intends to appeal that decision.

How do you feel about this new development in proceedings between Microsoft and the FTC?

As reported by The Verge, the regulatory body’s notice of appeal, which is dated July 12, doesn’t include any details regarding the arguments it’ll be using to support the appeal, which are instead likely to emerge once the full rationale for it is submitted to the American Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“We’re disappointed that the FTC is continuing to pursue what has become a demonstrably weak case, and we will oppose further efforts to delay the ability to move forward,” Microsoft President Brad Smith has said in a statement to The Verge regarding the appeal.

Since Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley denied the FTC’s request for a preliminary injunction which would have prevented Microsoft and Activision Blizzard from closing the deal prior to the key date of July 18, the NASDAQ has announced that Activision Blizzard will be removed from its index prior to July 17, a sign that the deal’s closure could be imminent.

If the FTC isn’t granted emergency relief in the court’s response to its appeal, this closure will be able to go ahead, though Microsoft does still need to resolve the situation between it and the CMA.

The UK regulator, which blocked the deal back in April, citing apprehension over its potential effects on cloud gaming, has recently warned that any restructuring of the deal in order to mitigate these concerns could lead to a fresh investigation of the merger.


Update: The FTC has now officially filed its appeal, citing the arguments outlined in the Tweet below as its rationale:

Regardless of what you think of this titanic legal tussle, make sure to check out the rest of our coverage of it, as well as our array of guides to the latest developments in Call of Duty: Warzone and Modern Warfare 2, with Season 4 Reloaded having just kicked off in the latter.

For more articles like this, take a look at our Gaming News , Xbox , and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 pages.