Microsoft’s $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard is facing scrutiny from antitrust investigators in several countries. In the US, for example, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) began investigating the acquisition shortly after it was announced. Now the FTC is reportedly ready to take action and will likely file an antitrust lawsuit to block the Microsoft buyout, according to political. Microsoft failed to convince the FTC staff who reviewed the settlement with its arguments, about politic the sources said, but agency commissioners have yet to vote on filing a complaint or meeting with lawyers.
While a lawsuit is not yet 100 percent guaranteed, the commission is reported to have been done with most of the investigation, including depositions from Microsoft boss Satya Nadella and Activision CEO Bobby Kotick. If the FTC finally decides to file a lawsuit, it could do so as early as next month. The publication says that the commission will probably present the case in its own internal administrative court, since it does not have to take it to a federal court first to request a temporary injunction. With other regulators also looking into the acquisition, it might not go ahead (if it is ultimately allowed to) until next year.
In the UK, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an in-depth investigation into the deal in September. And most recently, the European Commission announced that it will carry out a full-scale investigation into the purchase of Microsoft. Like these two European regulators, the FTC is concerned that the acquisition will give Microsoft an unfair advantage in the gaming industry and could significantly reduce competition in the marketplace.
Sony has been one of the loudest voices opposing the deal, raising concerns that Microsoft could create valuable IP like Obligations an Xbox exclusive. Jim Ryan, CEO of Sony PlayStation, previously revealed that Microsoft only offered to keep Obligations available on PlayStation for three years after current deal ends. But Xbox boss Phil Spencer said more recently that the company “is not taking Obligations PlayStation.” In Microsoft’s latest CMA filing, he argued that the acquisition won’t give it an unfair advantage: Sony has more exclusive games than Xbox, he said, and many of them are “better quality.”
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