Federal Trade Commission will review Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard

The FTC could block the deal from going forward

Microsoft is to be investigated by the Federal Trade Commission over their proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

News broke last month that Call of Duty and Overwatch developers Activision Blizzard were being acquired by Microsoft. But the deal isn’t actually set in stone yet, and now according to Bloomberg, the deal will see the FTC conduct an antitrust investigation over the Activision Blizzard acquisition. Essentially, the FTC will look into whether the landmark acquisition would harm competition, according to Bloomberg’s source.

FTC Chair Lina Khan has been advocating a more assertive approach when handling deals, especially with bigger tech companies. She believes that these big tech companies are able to use their dominance in one field to take over another.

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Activision offices
Activision offices. Credit: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images.

Under the Biden administration, the FTC has promised to take a firmer stance on policing deals like this. Last month they issued a joint statement with the Justice Department discussing their want to strengthen enforcement against illegal mergers.

The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority is currently reviewing the Activision Blizzard deal.

Recently, Nvidia has been expected to drop their attempt at acquiring chip manufacturer Arm, which the FTC has also been involved in. Nvidia not going through with the deal could cost them around £2.4 billion in deposits and cancellation fees.

Bob Sherbin, a spokesperson for Nvidia, said that the company still hopes to go through with the acquisition, saying “We continue to hold the views expressed in detail in our latest regulatory filings — that this transaction provides an opportunity to accelerate Arm and boost competition and innovation.”

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In related news, a message from an Activision Blizzard VP was shared online by ABetterABK organiser Jessica Gonzalez, claiming that unionising will not help “produce world-class games.

“All of this could hurt our ability to continue creating great games… While many union contracts include a “just cause” provision and a grievance process, this is really just a different way to deal with disciplinary issues. Even union contracts with “just cause” and grievance procedures still allow companies to enforce disciplinary rules, and CWA members are disciplined and terminated even with these so-called protections.”

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