Last updated: June 13, 2023, 5:11 AM IST
Washington DC, United States of America (USA)
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Monday asked a federal court to prevent Microsoft from completing its $69 billion acquisition of gaming giant Activision Blizzard, a lawsuit found.
“A preliminary injunction is necessary to prevent…preliminary damages,” while the FTC determines whether “the proposed acquisition violates U.S. antitrust law,” the regulator said in the filing.
By filing for the preliminary injunction in Northern California District Court, the US government sought to prevent the companies from finalizing the deal before July 18.
An FTC hearing is scheduled for August to argue the merits of the deal, but the appeal in a federal court may subject Microsoft to a restraining order blocking the deal before that process is complete.
The California judge would have to agree to stop the deal after hearing arguments from the FTC about why the buyout is illegal and from Microsoft about why it should go ahead.
“We welcome the opportunity to take our case to federal court,” said Microsoft president Brad Smith.
“We believe that speeding up the legal process in the US will ultimately bring more choice and competition to the market,” he added.
Xbox owner Microsoft launched a bid for Activision Blizzard early last year, in a bid to create the world’s third-largest gaming company after China’s Tencent and Japanese PlayStation maker Sony.
Although the European Union has given the green light to the deal, Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) blocked it in April, arguing it would hurt competition in cloud gaming.
The FTC filed a lawsuit in December to block the transaction with Activision Blizzard, maker of the blockbuster “Call of Duty,” over fears it would strangle competition.
The regulator is led by Lina Khan, an antitrust academic who advocated breaking up the largest tech companies before being nominated for the job by President Joe Biden in 2021.
Khan has accused Meta, Facebook’s parent company, of stifling competition by buying up startups, and the FTC has investigated Amazon.
The US Department of Justice, meanwhile, has filed lawsuits alleging that Google has violated antitrust rules in both online search and advertising.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and was published from a syndicated news agency feed – AFP)