Gaming’s biggest merger faces uncertainty as FTC reportedly tries to block Microsoft-Activision deal

The FTC is reportedly taking aim at Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard with more legal action.

Image via Microsoft

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is planning to file an injunction to block the proposed $68.7 billion merger between Activision-Blizzard and Microsoft today, according to reporter Shannon Liao.

“Just confirmed that the FTC is planning to file an injunction today to block the Microsoft-Activision Blizzard deal, according to a source familiar,” Liao said on Twitter. “Working on a story before I fly back to New York from Los Angeles, where I was just interviewing Xbox about this very same deal.”

This is just the latest in a series of setbacks that have kept this deal from going through quickly. Governments within the European Union pushed back against the deal in November 2022, as did Microsoft’s main competitor in the video gaming space, Sony, in September 2022. Both cited concerns about limiting competition, but the European Commission ultimately approved the merger on May 15. 

That said, not all of Europe was on board with this decision to allow the merger to move forward. Since the U.K. is now separate from the European Union, it is allowed to make its own decisions about these matters. The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority blocked Microsoft’s purchase of Activision-Blizzard over concerns that it could “damage competition in the cloud gaming market” on April 26.

Sony, meanwhile, has continued to lobby against the purchase, with reports circulating that the head of Sony Interactive Jim Ryan is dead set on blocking the merger no matter what concessions Microsoft offers.

The FTC has also already taken a turn at trying to block this merger in the past. In 2022, the agency sued Microsoft in an attempt to stop it. Now that the FTC’s counterparts at the European Commission have approved the deal, the agency is escalating things with an injunction. An injunction is a court order for a person or party to either do or stop doing something. In this case, it would be the FTC demanding that Microsoft stop trying to buy Activision-Blizzard.

Activision and Microsoft both have not yet commented on Liao’s report.

This is a breaking news story with more details to follow. Updates will be added as soon as possible.

About the author

Ty Galiz-Rowe

Ty (he/him) is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for sports anime, and to a lesser degree, esports.

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