FTC expected to file injunction to block Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard | Engadget

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is already suing to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activsion Blizzard, but now it’s reportedly taking steps to halt the deal before the July 18th deadline for the merger. A CNBC source claims the FTC is poised to file for an injunction that would prevent the merger from closing as scheduled.

    We’ve asked the FTC and Microsoft for comment. Microsoft tells CNBC the injunction will put the case in front of a federal judge sooner. In previous statements, Microsoft has downplayed the deal and claims that Activision Blizzard doesn’t have “must have” games. It even suggests Sony has higher-quality exclusives. The FTC, however, notes that Activision is one of just a few giant game publishers that publish major titles across platforms.

    The lawsuit is going before the FTC’s own administrative law judge in August. That official will make a decision that can appeal to the Commission for a vote. If the agency votes against the merger, Microsoft can appeal to a federal court to challenge the outcome.

    The reported injunction comes weeks after the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority said it would block the $68.7 billion purchase. The regulator is concerned Microsoft may buy its way into a monopoly of the young cloud gaming space, giving it up to 70 percent market share. Microsoft has tried to assuage those fears by striking deals with game streaming providers to put titles on their services. The tech giant has also tried to address fears of a Call of Duty Xbox exclusive by promising multi-platform releases for a decade.

    Microsoft has had some success with its proposed merger. The European Union greenlit the deal, for example. The company clearly needs US and UK support to move forward, though, and there are no guarantees it can make concessions that satisfy those countries’ regulators.

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