FTC sues to block Microsoft’s $68.7 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard

Reuters

  • The FTC has filed a lawsuit seeking to stop Microsoft from buying Activision Blizzard, known for hit games like Call of Duty.

  • The agency said Thursday that the deal “would allow Microsoft to cut out competitors.”

  • The $68.7 billion deal is the largest from Microsoft and the largest in the history of the video game industry.

The Federal Trade Commission is suing to stop Microsoft from buying Activision Blizzard.

The agency filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking to block the acquisition, saying the deal “would allow Microsoft to remove competitors from its Xbox game consoles and growing subscription content and cloud gaming business.” fast”.

The $68.7 billion deal is Microsoft’s largest, let alone the largest in the gaming industry.

“Microsoft has already shown that it can and will withhold content from its gaming rivals,” Holly Vedova, director of the FTC’s Competition Bureau, said in a press release. “Today, we seek to prevent Microsoft from taking control of a leading independent game studio and using it to harm competition in several dynamic and fast-growing game markets.”

Microsoft President and Vice President Brad Smith addressed the FTC’s legal challenge in a Tweeter shortly after its announcement.

“We continue to believe this agreement will expand competition and create more opportunities for gamers and game developers,” he said. “We have been committed from day one to resolving competition issues, including offering proposed concessions to the FTC earlier this week. While we believe in giving peace a chance, we have complete confidence in our case and we welcome the opportunity to present our case in search.”

Activision Blizzard has 154 million monthly active users worldwide, according to the FTC. It is known for its successful franchises like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft.

The FTC complaint highlighted Microsoft’s history of game acquisitions, including its purchase of ZeniMax, claiming that Microsoft made titles like “Starfield” exclusive to Xbox after buying other game companies and assured European antitrust regulators that he had no incentive to lock down games on the console.

Shortly after the companies announced the deal in January, Smith and Xbox head Phil Spencer both vowed that Call of Duty would not leave PlayStation as a result of the deal.

In a letter to employees Thursday, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick reiterated his “confidence” that the deal will be completed.

“The allegation that this agreement is anti-competitive does not fit the facts, and we believe we will win this challenge,” Kotick wrote. “The competitive landscape is changing and, simply put, a Microsoft-ABK combination will be good for gamers, good for employees, good for competition, and good for the industry. Our gamers want choice, and it gives them exactly that.”

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