September 29, 2023

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The FTC hits the brakes on Activision Blizzard’s Xbox merger trial set for August

The FTC hits the brakes on Activision Blizzard’s Xbox merger trial set for August

With the prospects of blocking Xbox’s Activision Blizzard merger, the Federal Trade Commission [FTC] He is pressing the brakes on a trial scheduled for August.

In a filing July 18, Xbox filed a motion to withdraw the lawsuit, to which the FTC responded today without any objection. While that may seem to mark the end of the FTC’s administrative challenge of the $69 billion merger, it’s still possible that the FTC could either reinvent or reach a settlement with Microsoft. The decision follows a recent ruling denying the FTC’s request to halt the transaction, which was upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Experts increasingly feel the FTC has little chance of winning its case against Xbox and Activision Blizzard, and members of Congress have called on the agency to back down from its merger challenge.

The FTC’s battle with Xbox

The Federal Trade Commission originally sued to block the deal as an antitrust measure. It solicited a deal delay in June, which led to a week-long trial in which it tried to prove that Call of Duty was a “unicorn,” and that Xbox could and would make it private. The FTC was soundly defeated at that point, which resulted in its application being denied. A full trial remained set for August, but with its primary argument already defeated, there was little the FTC could do to advance its case.

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Xbox and Activision Blizzard are now turning their attention to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority [CMA] And they are trying to reach an agreement on a merger, which seems increasingly likely to be successful. Xbox is expected to give up some control of its cloud business as part of a potential settlement with CMA.

With negotiations continuing, Xbox and Activision Blizzard have chosen to extend the deadline for the merger to October 18, when it is expected to be completed.

Should the deal eventually go through, Xbox will control several major franchises including Call of Duty, Overwatch and World of Warcrat as well as King’s catalog of mobile titles. Xbox recently signed an agreement with PlayStation promising that Call of Duty will remain on the platform for at least 10 years.

For more information, check out the full summary of the FTC trial.

Kat Bailey is IGN News Director and co-host of Nintendo Voice Chat. Do you have advice? Send her a direct message at the_katbot.