Microsoft temporarily blocked from closing Activision Blizzard deal by FTC restraining order

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The Xbox logo beside a Call of Duty character.
Credit: Xbox/Activision.

Having originally kicked off in January 2022, Microsoft's ongoing attempts to acquire Activision Blizzard feel like they’ve been rumbling on forever.

Since the company behind Xbox announced its plans to bring the publisher of titles ranging from Call of Duty to Overwatch and Warcraft on board for $68.7 billion, it’s been grappling with legislators around the world to gain permission to close that deal.

Now, following the blocking of the transaction by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority back in April, which Microsoft has since appealed, and the approval of it by EU regulators, the company is now facing scrutiny from the American Federal Trade Commission, with the legal battle between the two having just seen a restraining order issued.

Microsoft’s deal to acquire Activision Blizzard won’t be going through until a restraining order is lifted

As reported by The Verge, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had filed for a federal court to issue the restraining order, which will stop the deal from going through while the same court considers a second motion from the FTC.

This additional proposal is a preliminary injunction that would ensure the deal can’t be completed until the FTC has made its legal case as to why it shouldn’t be allowed to proceed, with the body having sued Microsoft in an attempt to prevent the deal from happening back in December last year.

The court is set to conduct an evidentiary hearing on this injunction over the course of June 22 and 23, with the restraining order preventing the deal from closing either “after 11:59pm Pacific Time on the fifth business day after the Court rules on the FTC's request for a preliminary injunction” or on a date set by the court, depending upon which of those two occurs on a later date.

It’s important to remember that the July 18, 2023 deadline is fast approaching.


This date would see Microsoft and Activision Blizzard forced to enter proceedings to renegotiate the terms of the deal in order to extend the deadline for it going through, which would come with a potential $3 billion breakup fee to be paid from the former to the latter if an agreement on fresh terms couldn’t be reached.

Regardless of what you think of this titanic legal tussle, make sure to check out our coverage of the game series it affects, including our array of guides to the latest developments in Warzone and Modern Warfare 2, with Season 4 kicking off in the latter today.

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