According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). That’s impressive A recent US federal court order cleared the way for Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard. The FTC has filed a notice of appeal against Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley’s decision, but we won’t know the regulator’s arguments until the full appeal is presented to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Microsoft won a bitter battle with the FTC earlier this week, when a federal judge denied the US regulator’s request for a preliminary injunction. “The Court finds that the FTC has not shown a likelihood of success on its claim that this particular vertical merger would substantially lessen competition in this particular industry,” Judge Corley wrote in the ruling. “Rather, the record evidence points to greater consumer access.” Call of duty and other Activision content.”
If the preliminary injunction had been granted, it would have temporarily prevented Microsoft from closing its Activision Blizzard deal pending the outcome of the FTC’s own administrative case against the company. That separate legal challenge is still set to begin on August 2.
Now that the FTC has chosen to appeal Judge Corley’s decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals must grant an emergency stay to extend the current Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), which expires at 11:59PM PT on Friday, July. 14th. It’s unclear whether the appeals court will rule before the July 18 contract deadline, leaving the door open for Microsoft to close the Activision Blizzard deal on Monday or Tuesday without an injunction.
“Facts Don’t Change” Lulu Seng Meserve tweeted, Activision Blizzard’s CCO and EVP of Corporate Affairs. “We believe the United States will be among the 39 countries that could close the tie. We look forward to strengthening the strength of our case in court — again.
Mike Ybarra, president of Blizzard Entertainment, joked about the appeal on Twitter. “Your Tax Dollars at Work” Ybarra said.
After the regulator blocked the deal over cloud concerns earlier this year, Microsoft still needs to resolve UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issues with its acquisition before closing. Microsoft and the CMA both immediately announced Tuesday that they had agreed to suspend their legal battles to negotiate after Judge Corley’s ruling.
In a surprise statement on Wednesday, the CMA warned that Microsoft’s offer to renegotiate its deal “could lead to a new merger investigation” and that negotiations between the regulator and Microsoft were still at an “early stage”.
A report from CNBC Microsoft and the CMA were originally said to have agreed to a “minor separation” to address cloud gaming concerns, but later corrected to clarify that Microsoft had only offered a “minor and discrete separation” that the CMA did not accept. CNBC It did not elaborate on what that departure would entail, but such a scenario would be specific to the UK and could include changes to Microsoft’s Xbox cloud gaming services in the region.
EU regulators also had cloud gaming concerns, but approved the deal earlier this year thanks to the 10-year licensing deals Microsoft offered to cloud gaming competitors. The CMA also warns that Microsoft is “unlikely to present new solutions” once the final report is published.
Microsoft’s deal with the EU includes a key settlement that includes free licensing for consumers in EU countries, allowing them to stream all current and future Activision Blizzard PC and console games through “the cloud game streaming services of their choice.” Cloud providers will also be given a free license to stream these games.
All eyes now turn to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal and Microsoft’s potential settlement with the CMA in the UK.
Updated July 12, 8:06PM ET: Added tweets from Activision Blizzard execs.
Correction July 12, 7:33PM ET: Based on a CNBC report, this article originally stated that Microsoft and CMA had agreed to a “minor stake divestiture.” CNBC has since corrected its article, now saying Microsoft made the exception without saying the company accepted the change.
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