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Business News/ News / World/  US judge greenlights $69 billion Microsoft-Activision deal, FTC may appeal verdict
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US judge greenlights $69 billion Microsoft-Activision deal, FTC may appeal verdict

US judge rules in favor of Microsoft's $69 billion acquisition of Activision, allowing the deal to proceed. The FTC has until July 14 to appeal.

An image from Activision's Call of Duty is shown on a smartphone near a photograph of the Microsoft logo in this photo taken in New York (AP)Premium
An image from Activision's Call of Duty is shown on a smartphone near a photograph of the Microsoft logo in this photo taken in New York (AP)

The $69 billion Microsoft-Activision deal may be closed ahead of a July 18 deadline. An US judge ruled in favour of the record-setting acquisition on Tuesday, setting aside the Federal Trade Commission's calls for a preliminary injunction. The FTA however has a chance to appeal the verdict till midnight on July 14. The deal now stands to be closed everywhere except for the UK (which has already vetoed it in May) within a week.

Microsoft has said it struck the deal to acquire Activision in order to add mobile games — an area where it has virtually no presence. Meanwhile Activision owns some immensely popular games and their makers - from Candy Crush to Call of Duty. If executed the massive deal will catapult Microsoft to the third slot among the world's biggest video-game companies behind China’s Tencent and game console rival Sony.

The deal has won approval from many jurisdictions but has been opposed by the FTC in the United States and Britain's Competition and Markets Authority. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick had earlier told a judge that the company was likely to abandon the takeover if the US Federal Trade Commission won a ruling pausing the deal.

ALSO READ: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says Call of Duty to ‘100%’ stay on PlayStation

Government bodies meanwhile argue that the proposed transaction would hurt gamers and lead to less competition in some areas. The FTC contends that the massive transaction would Microsoft exclusive access to Activision games - leaving Nintendo and Sony Group out in the cold.

While Microsoft has already won the EU antitrust approval for its $69 billion acquisition bid, it faces some opposition from Canada and the UK. The British Competition and Markets Authority had blocked the takeover in April and the company is set to appeal the decision later this month. Requests for an extention till October have been turned down. 

Meanwhile, Canada's Department of Justice recently concluded that Microsoft's deal to buy "Call of Duty" maker Activision Blizzard "is likely to" lead to less competition in some aspects of gaming.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 11 Jul 2023, 09:31 PM IST
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