The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is attempting to block Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision through an adjudicative process. However, this effort is unlikely to be more than a nuisance for Microsoft, as it has already obtained approval from the European Commission and received preliminary approval from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority. The FTC’s previous attempt to block the acquisition in the US was rejected by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The worst-case scenario for Microsoft would be divestiture, but there is little chance of the FTC derailing the deal in the short term.
Microsoft remains optimistic about the deal’s completion and is not overly concerned about the FTC’s move. The in-house hearing by the FTC will only start after the Ninth Circuit issues an opinion on the appeal. Activision’s CEO, Bobby Kotick, has called the UK’s preliminary approval a significant milestone for the merger. Lulu Cheng Meservey, the CCO of Activision, expressed the company’s focus on closing the deal with Microsoft and questioned the FTC’s use of limited taxpayer resources.
In conclusion, the FTC is reviving its attempt to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision through an adjudicative process, despite already obtaining approval from the European Commission and receiving preliminary approval from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority. However, this move is unlikely to prevent the deal from going through in the short term. Microsoft remains optimistic and is not overly concerned about the FTC’s interference. Activision is focused on closing the deal and has questioned the FTC’s use of taxpayer resources.