After a five-day trial filled with bombshell revelations and peaks into the workings of one of gaming’s biggest names, we now know the outcome of the hugely important court case regarding Microsoft VS. the FTC.
The court has sided with Mircosoft, denying the FTC’s preliminary injunction of the Activision Blizzard purchase, meaning the deal is one step closer to becoming a global reality.
Microsoft’s Win in Court Brings Them One Step Close to Sealing the Deal on Activision Blizzard Buyout
Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley has reached a verdict regarding the Microsoft vs. FTC trial and has ruled in favor of Microsoft, denying the FTC’s request for a preliminary injunction and giving way for the acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
In the ruling, Judge Corley stated, “The FTC has not shown a likelihood it will prevail on its claim this particular vertical merger in this specific industry may substantially lessen competition.” The ruling also states that the FTC failed to provide enough evidence that the merger would lessen competition in the cloud gaming market and even went so far as to say that “the record evidence points to more consumer access to Call of Duty and other Activision content.”
Several high ranking executive has released statements following the decision, with Xbox boss Phil Spencer penning several tweets stating, “The evidence showed the Activision Blizzard deal is good for the industry, and the FTC’s claims about console switching, multi-game subscription services, and cloud don’t reflect the realities of the gaming market.” Alongside Spencer, Microsoft President Brad Smith also released a statement saying the company is “grateful to the Court in San Francisco for this quick and thorough decision and hope other jurisdictions will continue working towards a timely resolution.”
On the flip side, the FTC has released its own statement, saying they are “disappointed in this outcome given the clear threat this merger poses to open competition in cloud gaming, subscription services, and consoles.” They said they intend to announce their next steps to continue its fight to “preserve competition and protect consumers.”
With this decision, the door is now open for Microsoft to complete its buyout of Activision Blizzard, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still hurdles to overcome, as the UK’s Competition Markets Authority (CMA) blocked the deal earlier this year, with an appeal hearing set to take place on July 28. The UK is now the last major obstacle for Microsoft to deal with, and it’s been reported in recent months that Microsoft could take extreme measures to bypass the UK’s block of the deal, including pulling Activision titles from the UK altogether.
While this isn’t the final hurdle, it is a major win for Microsoft in the long-running saga regarding its purchase of Activision Blizzard. With the company now turning its attention to the UK, we can expect to see the news in the coming month regarding the CMA and Microsoft appeal case, with both willing to consider modifying the deal to address concerns over the transaction.