Microsoft bought gaming giant Activision Blizzard
for $95 per share in January this year, with a total transaction value of $68.7 billion, the largest acquisition ever made by Microsoft. The deal has been questioned recently and has come under closer scrutiny from regulators and antitrust agencies in several regions including the US, UK, and EU. Some insiders have begun to worry that the deal may eventually fail, and Microsoft did not expect to receive such severe scrutiny.
According to Politico
, several people familiar with the matter revealed that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is likely to file an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard in order to block the transaction. At present, the investigation of the US Federal Trade Commission is still going on, but many more tedious tasks have been completed and are proceeding according to the planned timetable.
The four FTC commissioners have yet to make a final decision and have yet to meet with lawyers for Microsoft and Activision Blizzard, though they are rumored to be skeptical of Microsoft’s arguments. If an antitrust lawsuit ends up being filed, action could take place as soon as next month as part of the FTC’s agenda to rein in the power of big tech companies.
Microsoft spokesman David Cuddy provided Politico with a statement responding to the reports. The company “is prepared to address the concerns of regulators, including the FTC, and Sony to ensure the deal closes with confidence. We’ll still trail Sony and Tencent in the market after the deal closes, and together Activision and Xbox will benefit gamers and developers and make the industry more competitive.”
The intervention of the US Federal Trade Commission is a major blow to Microsoft, which has exceeded Microsoft’s original plan.