It’s been revealed that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has recommenced its fight against Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision, after the trade watchdog lost its legal case attempting to halt the merger back in July.
As BNN Bloomberg reports, the matter will be handled via an in-house trial. However, with the acquisition deadline set for October 18, there are questions over whether the challenge would actually be able to block the deal before that date.
The FTC’s ‘Order Returning Matter to Adjudication’, which was released on the FTC’s website on Tuesday, September 26, states: “The Commission has determined that the public interest warrants that this matter be resolved fully and expeditiously. Therefore, the Commission is returning this matter to adjudication.
“The evidentiary hearing in this proceeding shall commence twenty-one days after the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issues its opinion regarding the appeal of the district court decision on the requested preliminary injunction.”
Translated from legalese, this means that the FTC will attempt to re-open discussion as to the legitimacy of Microsoft’s acquisition plans – a case that will be made all the stronger should the Court of Appeals rule in its favor.
This development comes just one week after it was announced that the UK competition regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), had issued preliminary approval of Microsoft’s updated Activision merger deal, which will see Microsoft sell the cloud streaming rights for current and new Activision games (released over the next 15 years) to Ubisoft if the deal goes through.
The CMA stated that the updated deal “makes important changes that substantially address the concerns it set out in relation to the original transaction”, as it was initially worried that the merger could harm competition in cloud gaming in the UK.
In a statement released at the time, Activision Blizzard said: “The CMA’s preliminary approval is great news for our future with Microsoft. We’re pleased the CMA has responded positively to the solutions Microsoft has proposed, and we look forward to working with Microsoft toward completing the regulatory review process.”