Microsoft says this week’s FTC hearing on the Activision buyout will “decide whether the deal goes forward”

Microsoft says this week’s FTC hearing on the Activision buyout will “decide whether the deal goes forward”

By: Posted: June 23, 2023

Microsoft says that if the US Federal Trade Commission gets its way and delays its Activision Blizzard purchase, it might just abandon the deal altogether.

Microsoft began defending its Activision deal against the FTC in court on Thursday, its goal being to convince a federal judge not to grant the FTC a preliminary injunction that would delay the buyout’s closing. “This is going to decide whether the deal goes forward,” said Microsoft’s lead lawyer, Beth Wilkinson (via The New York Times).

If the judge sides with the FTC and Microsoft’s Activision purchase is slapped with an injunction, it wouldn’t necessarily mean the deal’s over – it would just mean it can’t go through until the FTC has a chance to fully review the details against US antitrust law. However, Wilkinson argued in court that a loss for Microsoft after this week-long hearing could result in a “three-year administrative nightmare,” and that could cause Microsoft to abandon ship.

Like the UK’s own antitrust authority, which blocked the deal in April, the FTC is concerned that Microsoft’s $70b purchase of Activision Blizzard would be harmful to competition if it’s successful. An example that surfaced out of the FTC’s argument today is Bethesda’s Indiana Jones game, which was changed from a multiplatform release to an Xbox exclusive after Microsoft bought the publisher.

Needless to say, the stakes couldn’t be higher for Microsoft and Activision right now, as losing out on a deal this big and this far into the process would presumably be financially devastating. The deadline for the deal to close is July 18 and there’s an eye-watering $3 billion termination fee Microsoft would have to pay if it fails to secure approval and close the transaction.

Check out our¬†upcoming Xbox Series X games¬†guide for a full look at what’s on the horizon for the new-gen box.

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