The FTC will investigate the Microsoft Acti-Blizz buyout, company to skip Q4 conference call


When Microsoft announced that it was buying Activision-Blizzard – that was just two weeks ago, to put time into perspective – we knew the deal would be subject to plenty of government oversight and scrutiny. And if the companies thought they’d coast through, they might want to think again, as Bloomberg reports that it will be the Federal Trade Commission, not the Justice Department, that handles the oversight. Under the current administration, the FTC is considered bullish on antitrust issues and mergers that can upset industries, especially the tech industry. “Regulators are likely to look closely at how Microsoft’s ownership of Activision could harm rivals by limiting their access to the company’s biggest games,” Bloomberg argues – which is no doubt why Microsoft has been loud about maintaining Activision-Blizzard’s current Sony contracts.

Activision-Blizzard’s Q4 2021 earnings release, of course, will roll out tomorrow as planned, though the company has already said it will “not be hosting a conference call, issuing an earnings presentation, or providing financial guidance” pending the buyout.

Meanwhile, Activision execs have continued their soft-unionbusting attempts; the latest measure is a company-wise chat missive that insists “a union doesn’t do anything to help [the company] produce world-class games,” which ought to give everyone pause, since ensuring that workers are properly compensated and treated is extremely important to producing quality games and a pipeline capable of producing more, as everyone who’s been watching the industry for a prolonged period knows.

Activision-Blizzard is considered a controversial gaming company owing to a long string of scandals over the last few years, including the Blitzchung boycott, mass layoffs, labor disputes, and executive pay fiasco. In 2021, the company was sued by California for fostering a work environment rife with sexual harassment and discrimination, the disastrous corporate response to which compounded Blizzard’s ongoing pipeline issues and the widespread perception that its online games are in decline. Multiple state and federal agencies are investigating the company as employees strike and call for Bobby Kotick’s resignation. As of 2022, the company is being acquired by no less than Microsoft.
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