Court rejects FTC’s last-ditch effort to block Microsoft’s Activision purchase of Blizzard

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has lost its final bid to block Microsoft’s purchase of Activision’s Blizzard. It’s the second loss for the FTC after a US federal judge denied a request for a preliminary injunction to block Microsoft’s purchase of Activision’s Blizzard until a separate FTC administrative case is concluded.

The FTC appealed Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley’s decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. rejected its request For emergency relief to prevent Microsoft from closing the deal pending the outcome of the FTC’s appeal.

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals filing.
Image: US Courts

Microsoft welcomed the denial late Friday. “We appreciate the Ninth Circuit’s quick response, denying the FTC’s motion to further delay the deal. This brings us another step closer to the finish line in this marathon of global regulatory reviews,” Microsoft vice president and president Brad Smith said in a statement. on the edge.

This means that after the temporary restraining order that was part of Judge Corley’s order, Microsoft is now free to close its Activision Blizzard deal, which expires tonight at 11:59PM PT. Microsoft has until July 18 to finalize its deal; If not, it will have to renegotiate terms with Activision Blizzard or pay a $3 billion breakup fee.

Microsoft can’t close the deal immediately. There is still the complicated matter of the deal being blocked in the UK. The Competition and Markets Authority in the UK blocked the Microsoft deal earlier this year, citing competition fears in the growing cloud gaming market. Both the CMA and Microsoft have agreed to suspend their legal battles to determine how the transaction can be modified to address the CMA’s cloud gaming concerns.

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The UK regulator warned this week that Microsoft’s proposals would “lead to a new merger investigation” and that discussions with Microsoft were at an early stage. The CMA also issued a notice of extension to its overall hearing on the deal earlier today, moving the date for final proceedings, or final order, from July 18 to August 29.

CMA’s extension comes hours later Bloomberg reported Microsoft is considering selling its UK cloud-gaming rights to a telecoms, gaming or internet company.

Updated, July 15 at 8PM ET: Article updated with Microsoft comment.

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