The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has appealed to the Court of Appeals to delay the implementation of the deal worth $69 billion, under which Microsoft will absorb Activision Blizzard.
The implementation of this intention of the technology giant, if approved based on the results of all the proceedings and inspections that have not yet come close to completion, will be the largest transaction in the history of the gaming industry.
The FTC is currently seeking to ensure that the San Francisco Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decides to overturn the lower court’s ruling of July 10, according to which companies can proceed to the final stage of the business agreement and carry out the takeover procedure by July 18.
The commission’s lawyers argue that the implementation of the transaction may entail an irreversible change in the status quo. They also say that the completion of the takeover before the FTC’s appeal would cause significant damage to the regulator’s ability to provide effective protection to the public if the terms of the transaction do not meet the requirements of current legislation aimed at preventing actions that violate the antimonopoly legal concept.
U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley on Thursday, July 13, rejected the commission’s request to extend the pause in the deal while the appeal is being considered. If the Court of Appeal makes a similar decision on this issue, the deal can be implemented as early as Friday, July 14.
The FTC demonstrates a high level of activity and is making every possible effort within the framework of the antitrust fight. In a certain sense, for the regulator, activity in this direction is something like a matter of honor, since it is in such proceedings that the true capabilities of the commission to block large technological transactions in court are manifested. The FTC has already had to suffer defeat on this front of legal confrontations this year when the agency lost a dispute with Meta Platforms.
Chairman of the commission Lina Khan on Thursday, July 13, during a hearing in the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives confirmed her commitment to the position on the validity of the agency’s decisions in the framework of antimonopoly activities. Republicans reacted very negatively to the regulator’s report on merger losses. They suspected the commission that its failures in court were a planned result and that the FTC needed to create a pretext backed by real facts to influence Congress to adopt antitrust legislation.
Lina Khan, responding to complaints about the activities of the regulator, said that the commission always begins a stubborn struggle if it records violations of the law. She also noted that in case of a negative outcome of the proceedings, the FTC lawyers always study the text of the court order to find an opportunity to appeal.
For Microsoft, the efforts of the regulator are a significant obstacle. The technology giant is very naturally interested in the takeover of Activision Blizzard since this deal will make it one of the leaders in the field of mobile games, in which the best positions will be only with Tencent Holdings and Sony.
The UK Competition and Markets Authority vetoed the deal in May. This is another factor complicating the implementation of the intentions of the technology giant. The British regulator fears that the deal will negatively affect the process of competition in the video game market. Companies can make adjustments to the takeover plan. At the same time, such actions may provoke the launch of a new antitrust investigation in the UK.
As we have reported earlier, FTC Sues Amazon.