The FTC is reportedly trying to stop Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition. The federal trade commission is now temporarily seeking a restraining order and injunction from the US federal district court in that regard.
FTC Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard Acquisition
The Federal Trade Commission is at the moment asking for US courts to stop Microsoft from buying Activision Blizzard while the government’s bigger case in a bid to block the merger gets to play out. The FTC originally has filed a legal challenge to try and block the proposed Activision Blizzard acquisition of Microsoft in December, and now the agency is seeking a temporary restraining order and injunction from a US federal district court.
“Both a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction are necessary because Microsoft and Activision have represented that they may consummate the proposed acquisition at any time,” the FTC’s complaint reads.
Microsoft’s Appeal Case with UK Regulators
The FTC reportedly filed its complaint just as Microsoft is progressing with its appeal against the decision of regulators in the UK to block its proposed acquisition. The timing, which is just weeks before the July 18th deal deadline, reveals that the FTC is concerned Microsoft may just be preparing to close its acquisition regardless of the block in the UK. European regulators reportedly gave the deal the go-ahead in the previous month, so Microsoft really could close without the UK technically and without an injunction in the US stopping the deal from closing.
“Press reports began circulating suggesting that defendants were seriously contemplating closing the proposed acquisition despite the pending administrative litigation and the CMA orders,” states the FTC complaint. That, mixed with an ongoing CMA appeal at the moment, could have forced the FTC in trying to attempt to secure an injunction.
Will the Judge Issue A Temporary Restraining Order
The US judge will now be needing to decide on issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO) in a bid to restrict Microsoft from closing the deal for two weeks and then a preliminary injunction that would stop Microsoft from closing until the result of the legal challenge of the FTC. An evidentiary hearing is however scheduled for August 2nd, which is just shortly after the appeal of Microsoft hearing is scheduled to begin in the UK.
What Will Happen If the Injunction of the FTC Is Unsuccessful?
If the injunction of the FTC is unsuccessful, then Microsoft is eager to fast-track the case with the FTC. “We welcome the opportunity to present our case in federal court,” Brad Smith, Microsoft vice chair and president, in a statement to The Verge reportedly states. “We believe accelerating the legal process in the US will ultimately bring more choice and competition to the market.” In an email to employees that was shared publicly, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick made a similar argument, stating that the actions of Monday were “a positive development in our merger progress” because it “accelerates the legal process.”
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