Reports: FTC ‘likely’ to file lawsuit to block Microsoft’s takeover of Activision Blizzard

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is poised to bring an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft in an effort to stop the computer giant’s acquisition of video game developer Activision Blizzard.

Currently, there is no surety that the lawsuit will be filed but it is believed it will be a big step towards indictment against large tech companies by FTC chairwoman Lina Khan. Earlier this year, the FTC started an investigation into Microsoft planning to acquire Activision Blizzard. The investigation is till going on but the decision to go ahead with the lawsuit might come as early as next month according to an anonymous source who spoke to Politico.

Microsoft, which has created Xbox studios and the gaming console, has been showing a lot of interest in the gaming sector recently and has proposed to buy one of the biggest video game companies Activision Blizzard.

Activision Blizzard is the publisher of the Call of Duty franchise and Overwatch along with several other games. Sony, the creator of PlayStation and a rival of Microsoft in consoles, has strongly opposed the acquisition deal.

Sony argued in a statement submitted to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority in October that the agreement will reduce its capacity to compete with Microsoft and provide customers with less number of options to access and buy games.

In a follow-up letter to the UK regulatory body, Microsoft responded to these worries by reassuring the agency that it had pledged to keep “Call of Duty” and other games accessible on its platforms and claimed that Sony’s opposition to the deal was motivated solely by its desire to retain the top spot in the global gaming market.

In a statement to Business Insider, a spokesperson for Microsoft said, “As we have said before, we are prepared to address the concerns of regulators, including the FTC, and Sony to ensure the deal closes with confidence.”

“We’ll still trail Sony and Tencent in the market after the deal closes, and together Activision and Xbox will benefit gamers and developers and make the industry more competitive,” he added.

The rushed deal was also a hot discussion topic for several parties as before the announcement, Activision Blizzard was also facing a lawsuit on Activision’s sexual harassment scandals. It is claimed that the deal was also a way to avoid further attention.

A spokesperson for Activision said, “Any suggestion that the transaction could lead to anticompetitive effects is completely absurd. This merger will benefit gamers and the U.S. gaming industry, especially as we face increasingly stiff competition from abroad.”

“We are committed to continuing to work cooperatively with regulators around the globe to allow the transaction to proceed, but won’t hesitate to fight to defend the transaction if required,” he added.