US regulator backs off Microsoft-Activision challenge

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The US Federal Trade Commission is suspending its attempt to block Microsoft’s buyout of video gaming giant Activision Blizzard, a legal filing showed.

The FTC said late Thursday it would not take the case in front of an administrative judge as planned on August 2, though an option to reopen the case would remain.

This followed the FTC’s stinging defeat in a US federal court earlier this month, when a judge refused a request to block the $75 billion transaction from being finalized, pending the litigation.

That decision gave the FTC a clear indication that its arguments would not win the day after a potentially long legal battle.

The FTC is still appealing its federal court defeat, though the appeals court last week declined to halt Microsoft’s acquisition while that is underway.

Microsoft and Activision on Wednesday agreed to give themselves until October 18 to complete the blockbuster transaction that still needs a sign off from regulators in Britain that had earlier rejected the deal.

Both sides said they remained firmly committed to the transaction and were emboldened by their victory in US court.

The deal will create the world’s third biggest video-gaming giant and has faced significant scrutiny by antitrust regulators.

© 2023 AFP

US regulator backs off Microsoft-Activision challenge (2023, July 21)
retrieved 22 July 2023

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