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The FTC is again attempting to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard


The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is continuing to attempt to have Microsoft‘s acquisition of Activision Blizzard blocked.

Microsoft officially acquired of Activision Blizzard on October 13, completing the game industry’s (and Microsoft’s) biggest ever deal.

However, the FTC is not willing to let the matter lie, and has proceeded with an appeal attempting to overturn a previous US court decision to allow the deal to go ahead.

Back in July, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California denied the FTC’s motion for a preliminary injunction.

Had it been granted, the injunction would have blocked the $69 billion deal from being completed until the US regulator’s in-house court had a chance to rule on whether the merger hurt competition in the games industry.

However, as Reuters reports, the FTC has proceeded with its planned appeal and was in court on Wednesday arguing that the judge’s decision was wrong.

According to the report, FTC lawyer Imad Abyad claimed that the judge had required the FTC to prove that the deal was anti-competitive, whereas all he says they had to do was show that it was possible, and that Microsoft had the ability and incentive to keep Activision games off non-Xbox platforms.

Abyad argues that by showing Microsoft had allegedly made some Bethesda games exclusive after buying its parent company Zenimax, that was all it needed to do to prove that anti-competitive behaviour was potential.

However, Microsoft’s lawyer Rakesh Kilaru says the FTC’s case is “weak” and that “the standard can’t be as low as the FTC is suggesting,” adding: “It can’t be kind of a mere scintilla of evidence.”

The case is ongoing, but Reuters asked two antitrust scholars how they felt about the case, and both suggested the FTC would have a hard time winning its appeal.