Antitrust hearing scheduled for August
[Update: The FTC has been officially granted the injunction filed against Microsoft. As such, Microsoft cannot complete its purchase of Activision Blizzard until the case reaches Federal Court in August.]
The United States Federal Trade Commission has requested that U.S. place an injunction preventing Microsoft from closing its proposed purchase of publisher Activision Blizzard before the FTC’s antitrust lawsuit, set to take place this August.
Despite the legal opposition from the commission, as well as the approval rejection from the UK, The FTC believes Microsoft fully intends to go ahead and complete the $68.7 billion merger, and that “they may consummate the proposed acquisition at any time”. The FTC filed suit against Microsoft back in December 2022, but the case is still yet to be heard in court.
The FTC has asked for an injunction preventing the sale from taking place be filed no later than June 15, and that said injunction remain in place until the court makes its decision later this summer.
In a statement to GamesIndustry.biz, Microsoft president Brad Smith writes: “We welcome the opportunity to present our case in federal court. We believe accelerating the legal process in the U.S. will ultimately bring more choice and competition to the market.”
The FTC continues to build its case against the proposed sale ahead of August’s hearing. The commission is expected to present arguments that Microsoft’s ownership of the Call of Duty and World of Warcraft studio will create something of a monopoly within the industry, limiting player choice and confining popular brands to MS own platforms. Microsoft has repeatedly denied that this is the intent behind its proposed purchase.
Pretrial briefs are expected to take place in July, with the court officially opening August 2.