Video Games

FTC’s Latest Attempt to Pause Deal Denied as Microsoft Weighs Potential CMA Solution

Not only has the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s request to temporarily stay Microsoft’s $68.7 billion deal to buy Activision Blizzard pending an appeal decision denied, but Microsoft and Activision Blizzard are part of the UK cloud gaming rights. to appease the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which is reportedly considering selling the company.

according to reports Reuters and bloomberg, Jacqueline Scott Corey, the same judge who denied the FTC’s preliminary injunction against this massive transaction, also rejected the FTC’s request to stay the transaction until the Ninth Court of Appeals decides.

“The FTC requests this Court to stay the disputed merger pending resolution of the FTC’s appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The motion is denied,” Corey wrote. rice field.

There were many factors in Corley’s decision to dismiss this motion and the FTC’s preliminary injunction, but one of the main reasons was Call of Duty.

“Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision is said to be the largest in technology history,” Justice Corey said in his ruling. “It deserves scrutiny. That scrutiny has paid off. Microsoft has committed in writing, publicly and in court to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for a decade on par with Xbox. We have signed several deals to bring Call of Duty and Activision content to several cloud gaming services for the first time.

“The court’s responsibilities in this case are narrow. Notwithstanding these current circumstances, it is to determine whether the merger should be stayed, or possibly terminated, pending resolution of the FTC’s administrative litigation.”

“For the reasons explained, the Court found that the FTC has not shown any likelihood of winning the argument that this particular vertical integration in this particular industry could significantly reduce competition. , documentary evidence indicates increased consumer access to Call of Duty and other Activision content. Accordingly, the motion for preliminary injunction is denied. ”

Attempts by Microsoft and Activision Blizzard to Appease CMA Reportedly in the Cloud

As for the CMA, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard are reportedly considering abandoning some of their cloud gaming operations in the UK to make regulators more willing to close this mega-deal. ing.

The two companies may sell their cloud-based marketing rights for games in the UK to “communications, gaming or internet-based computing companies” or “private equity firms,” ​​the people said.

The CMA vetoed the deal in April 2023, but said Microsoft and Activision Blizzard were happy to restructure the terms of the offer. Unfortunately, this would require an entirely new investigation, which could take a considerable amount of time to complete.

Regarding the original proposal, the CMA said, “This deal will change the future of the burgeoning cloud gaming market, leading to less innovation and less choice for UK gamers over the next few years.”

Microsoft appealed the decision, with a trial date set for July 28, after the July 18 shutdown deadline for Microsoft and Activision Blizzard. However, some analysts believe that Microsoft negotiated a deal with the CMA to end the deal before the dispute with the CMA was resolved.

Speaking of deadlines, if the deal isn’t finalized by July 18, Xbox will have to pay Activision Blizzard $3 billion and the two companies will renegotiate the terms of the merger.

IGN spoke to a handful of analysts who still believe the deal will go through, but it’s hard to predict with 100% certainty what will happen in the rush to July 18th.

For more, see our full trial rundown on the Microsoft, Activision Blizzard, and FTC lawsuits, and why FTC officials were recently accused of wasting taxpayer money on Xbox verdict appeals.

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Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @Adam Bankhurst and further Twitching.

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