Blocked! Microsoft's Activision Blizzard buyout gets it sued by the FTC - MrLiambi's blog


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Thursday, 8 December 2022

Blocked! Microsoft's Activision Blizzard buyout gets it sued by the FTC

Microsoft is being sued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in an attempt to block its buyout of Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard.

The planned $68.7 million buyout of Activision Blizzard is something that Microsoft has been trying to get over the line for a good long while now, and recent murmurs suggested that the FTC was ready to ratify the deal. That clearly isn't happening now, with the outfit confirming that it is suing Microsoft in a press release issued on its website. It's worried that Microsoft would keep some franchises as Xbox exclusives.

"The Federal Trade Commission is seeking to block technology giant Microsoft Corp. from acquiring leading video game developer Activision Blizzard, Inc.", the statement reads. The FTC alleges "that the $69 billion deal, Microsoft's largest ever and the largest ever in the video gaming industry, would enable Microsoft to suppress competitors to its Xbox gaming consoles and its rapidly growing subscription content and cloud-gaming business."

There had been concerns that Microsoft would make Call of Duty in particular an Xbox exclusive, despite claims from the company to the contrary. It was ready to hand Sony a 10-year contract that ensured the games would be released on the PlayStation and other platforms, but that hasn't been enough to placate the FTC.

The statement points to Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda as a cause for concern for the future. "Microsoft decided to make several of Bethesda's titles including Starfield and Redfall Microsoft exclusives despite assurances it had given to European antitrust authorities that it had no incentive to withhold games from rival consoles," it says.

It looks increasingly unlikely that this deal will go ahead, and it will be very interesting to see Microsoft's response in what is a developing story.

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