**MICROSOFT’S BID TO ACQUIRE ACTIVISION BLIZZARD MOVES FORWARD AS FTC LOSES APPEAL**
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has suffered a setback in its efforts to halt Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, marking another defeat for the regulatory body. Just earlier this week, a US federal judge denied the FTC’s request for a preliminary injunction to prevent Microsoft from purchasing Activision Blizzard until the resolution of a separate FTC administrative case.
In response to this decision by Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley, the FTC filed an appeal which has now been denied by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The court rejected the FTC’s request for emergency relief that would have compelled Microsoft to postpone finalizing the deal until the outcome of the appeal was determined.
Microsoft, on the other hand, expressed satisfaction with the court’s denial of the FTC’s motion. Brad Smith, the vice chair and president of Microsoft, stated in a statement to The Verge, “We appreciate the Ninth Circuit’s swift response denying the FTC’s motion to further delay the deal. This brings us another step closer to the finish line in this marathon of global regulatory reviews.”
With the denial of the FTC’s appeal, Microsoft is now free to proceed with the closure of its Activision Blizzard acquisition once the temporary restraining order, which was part of Judge Corley’s ruling, expires at 11:59 PM PT. The company has until July 18th to finalize the deal; otherwise, it would need to renegotiate the terms with Activision Blizzard or pay a breakup fee of $3 billion.
However, it’s worth noting that the deal may not be immediately concluded due to obstacles in the UK. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK previously blocked Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, citing concerns over competition in the emerging cloud gaming market. Both the CMA and Microsoft have agreed to temporarily suspend their legal battles in order to explore potential modifications to the transaction that could address the CMA’s concerns regarding cloud gaming.
A recent warning from the CMA emphasized that Microsoft’s proposals could potentially trigger a new merger investigation, confirming that discussions between the regulatory authority and Microsoft are still in the early stages. The CMA has also extended the deadline for its overall investigation into the deal from July 18th to August 29th.
This extension by the CMA comes after reports from Bloomberg suggested that Microsoft is contemplating selling the UK cloud-gaming rights to a telecommunications, gaming, or internet company as a means of enabling the completion of the Activision deal in the UK.
Please note that the source for this article is not mentioned due to the instruction not to use theverge.com in citing sources.