Another twist in the acquisition process of Activision and Blizzard. After months of negotiations with international authorities, the American competition authority FTC could turn everything upside down with a lawsuit against Microsoft. The lawsuit could be announced as early as next month.
The biggest buyout in video game history may not happen. After months of pleading his case with the various international competition authorities, particularly in Europe, Microsoft risks standstill in acquisition of Activision-Blizzard. The Politico media dropped the bombshell in an article published this Wednesday, November 23. The FTC, the US competition regulator, is preparing legal action against the Redmond companywith the express purpose of blocking the transaction.
The information was shared by three sources close to the case, who remained anonymous. However, the latter state that nothing is official even within the FTC. However, the four commissioners of the organization still have to agree on a vote before the lawyers of the two companies meet. The witnesses agree, however The probability of a complaint is very high. This will be one of the FTC’s biggest cases in recent years.
See also: Sony accuses Microsoft of wanting to turn PlayStation into a ‘Nintendo-like’ console
The US could block the acquisition of Activision-Blizzard at the last moment
There is absolutely nothing irrelevant to this complaint in the current context. As a matter of fact, Microsoft and Activision-Blizzard both have until July 2023 to finalize the deal, otherwise it will be canceled. Suffice it to say that a complaint filed against the American giant in the coming weeks will significantly slow down the process to the point of no return, forcing the two companies to abandon the project.
The internal investigation is still ongoing, but is at an advanced stage. According to anonymous sources, the FTC has already received testimony from Satya Nadella and Bobby Kotick, CEOs of Microsoft and Activision-Blizzard, respectively. If there is a complaint This should be submitted next month with the American judiciary by January at the latest.
However, everything had started well for Microsoft, which received its first validation from Saudi Arabia last August, closely followed by several other countries. but fierce opposition from Sony, accompanied by the concerns of major European and American regulators, have changed the situation. The Redmond-based company has said this again and again in recent months its intention is in no way to harm Sonyeven goes so far as to praise its direct competitor.
For many, The heart of the problem lies at the Call of Duty level, one of the largest current video game licenses, currently owned by Activision-Blizzard and therefore will fall under the Microsoft banner in the event of a takeover. For its part, Sony fears that the franchise will become exclusive to Xbox. To ease tensions, Microsoft has even offered a deal committing it to continue releasing the next Call of Duty on PlayStation for another 10 years. Obviously unsuccessful.
Google is also opposed to taking over Activision-Blizzard
However, Call of Duty is not the primary concern of the FTC. The club fears that The acquisition upsets the balance of the video game market, also through some not yet announced games. Surprisingly, Politico also names Google as an opponent of the takeover. Indeed, the Mountain View company accuses his buddy of doing it deliberately limited the quality of Xbox Game Pass on its Chromebooks. In her opinion, the acquisition of Activision-Blizzard would encourage Microsoft to continue down this path.
“Any suggestion that the deal could have anti-competitive effects is utter nonsense,” Activision spokesman Joe Christinat said. “This merger will benefit gamers and the US video game industry, especially as we face increasingly fierce foreign competition. We are committed to continuing to work cooperatively with regulators around the world to facilitate the completion of the transaction, but we will have no hesitation in defending the transaction if necessary. »