FTC ‘likely’ to file antitrust lawsuit to block Microsoft’s Activision acquisition of Blizzard

Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard may go to court.

As reported by Politico, the United States Federal Trade Commission is “likely” to file an antitrust lawsuit to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The company, which announced its $69 billion purchase of the gaming behemoth earlier this year, may face a court battle to go through with the acquisition, according to three people familiar with the matter.

According to reports, organizations that have concerns about the justification of Microsoft’s argument for its case for the acquisition of the company. Although a case is not confirmed, many people say it is possible.

A lawsuit challenging the deal is not guaranteed, and the FTC’s four commissioners have yet to file a complaint or meet with lawyers for the company, two of the people said. However, FTC staff reviewing the deal are skeptical of the company’s arguments, the people said.

If a case materializes, it could come as soon as next month, according to people familiar with the investigation.

The investigation is ongoing, but much of the heavy lifting has been done, including depositions from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Activision chief Bobby Kotick, people with knowledge of the investigation said. If the agency moves forward with a lawsuit, it could come as soon as next month, said the people, who all spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a confidential matter.

Microsoft originally announced its intention to buy Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion in January. If it succeeds, franchises like Call of Duty, Diablo, World of Warcraft and Overwatch will be owned by the company.

Microsoft gaming boss Phil Spencer said that the company’s primary motivation for buying Activision Blizzard was actually to acquire Candy Crush developer King Games. The Xbox boss said acquiring the studio would help the company make inroads into mobile gaming. Call of Duty is just a bonus, apparently.