FTC Challenges Judge’s Ruling on Microsoft-Activision Blizzard Deal
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced its decision to appeal a recent federal court order that cleared the way for Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, The Verge is reporting.
The FTC has filed a notice of appeal, and the regulator’s arguments will be presented in the full appeal submitted to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Microsoft emerged victorious earlier this week when a federal judge denied the FTC’s request for a preliminary injunction. In the ruling, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley stated that the FTC failed to demonstrate a likelihood of prevailing in its claim that the merger would substantially lessen competition in the specific industry.
The judge emphasized that the evidence in the record indicated increased consumer access to Call of Duty and other Activision content.
By choosing to appeal Judge Corley’s decision, the FTC now seeks an emergency stay from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to extend the existing temporary restraining order (TRO), which is set to expire on Friday, July 14th, at 11:59 PM PT.
It remains uncertain whether the appeals court will issue a ruling before the deal deadline on July 18th, potentially allowing Microsoft to proceed with the Activision Blizzard acquisition without a restraining order in place.
Before closing the deal, Microsoft must also address concerns raised by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) regarding cloud-related issues.
The CMA previously blocked the acquisition but entered negotiations with Microsoft following Judge Corley’s ruling.
In a surprising statement, the CMA cautioned that Microsoft’s opportunity to restructure the deal could trigger a new merger investigation, indicating that discussions are still in the early stages.