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Published: February 3, 2022

Written by: Stoyan Todorov

  • The Federal Trade Commission will take responsibility for reviewing Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard
  • The reports claim that this might mean bad news for the agreement as the leader of the FTC’s is harsh on such deals
  • If the deal receives the commission’s blessing, it will go live in summer 2023

According to reports, the Federal Trade Commission will review Microsoft’s acquisition of Blizzard and might block it if it deems it to hurt the fair market competition.

The FTC Will Get Involved in the Deal

The Federal Trade Commission will review the acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft, according to a report by the news outlet Bloomberg. If the deal is found to be anti-competitive, the FTC might block it, the report warns.

The review will estimate how the M&A agreement will affect the industry and how much it will affect competition. According to Bloomberg’s source, the investigation will check Activision Blizzard’s gaming titles suite and Microsoft’s consoles and hardware systems. The regulator will then determine whether the acquisition has the potential of being anti-competitive by limiting rivals’ access to Activision Blizzard’s games.

Microsoft’s acquisition was announced two weeks ago and is still one of the most talked-about developments in the gaming and tech industries. If the deal receives the commission’s approval, it will likely take place in June 2023.

The FTC Will Block the Agreement if It Doesn’t Like it

It was noted that Lina Khan, the current chairwoman of the FTC, is a fervent supporter of tougher checks into merger deals by large companies, especially ones related to technology. She believes that such deals can use a company’s dominance in one line of business to gain power in other markets.

As a chairwoman of the FTC, Khan has worked to block two of the biggest tech industry deals in recent times. One of them was Nvidia Corp’s deal with Arm that was heavily critiqued by the regulators of more than one country, eventually leading to the former company giving up on the agreement. The other is the aerospace company Lockheed Martin’s $4.4 billion acquisition of the rocket and missile propulsion manufacturer Aerojet Rocketdyne. The FTC deemed the deal to be one that can harm competition and announced a lawsuit in order to block it.

The FTC is one of the two bodies that deal with antitrust matters, with the other being the Justice Department. Usually, the two coordinate their efforts by choosing which institution should tackle each individual case.

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