So remember how the Microsoft buyout of Activision-Blizzard was supposed to be all wrapped up by June of 2023? We’re kinda there now, with chiefly the FTC’s lawsuit and the CMA’s disapproval being the only major roadblocks, and apparently Microsoft and Activision-Blizzard were planning to go ahead with it in spite of the ongoing litigation, or at least that’s what the FTC seems to think. Can they do that? Is this just about who has the authority to stop them? Well, we’ll see: The FTC asked the US District Court in NoCal for an immediate injunction to block the deal.
“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 [redacted text] without any further notice to the Commission. A preliminary injunction is necessary to maintain the status quo and prevent interim harm to competition during the pendency of the FTC’s administrative proceeding to determine whether the Proposed Acquisition violates U.S. antitrust law. A temporary restraining order is necessary to maintain the status quo while this Court decides whether to grant the requested preliminary injunction.”
The FTC reminds the court that the hearings over its antitrust-driven block of the merger aren’t set to begin until August, but “[p]ress reports began circulating suggesting that Defendants were seriously contemplating closing the Proposed Acquisition despite the pending administrative litigation and the CMA Orders.”
Meanwhile, UK regulators granted Activision-Blizzard status to join the appeal of the Competition and Markets Authority’s ruling that blocked the merge in the UK.