The FTC is moving to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision-Blizzard

oh nooooooo

Some things are just not surprising, and the FTC deciding that it wants to block the acquisition of Activision-Blizzard by Microsoft is one such action. This is not surprising even if you remember that the FTC already signaled it was probably going to do this back in November. It was formally announced today that the FTC will take action to block the acquisition, which makes it much less likely that the company’s purchase will actually go through after all.

The FTC’s reasons aren’t particularly surprising, either; the agency explains that the acquisition would give Microsoft an unfair monopoly in the video game sphere and access to exclusivity that reduces consumer choice. It also cites Microsoft’s previously demonstrated actions of assuring regulators that it would not make multiplatform titles from Bethesda into exclusives before making them exclusives. Obviously, this move does not mean that the acquisition is dead in the water, but it does mean that there will be a great deal more legal conflict over the proposed deal before it finally goes through or fizzles out.

Activision-Blizzard’s CCO has weighed in on the action on Twitter.

Bobby Kotick has now released a statement.

SANTA MONICA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Dec. 8, 2022– Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick today sent the following letter to all employees.


I wanted to provide a brief update on our pending merger with Microsoft. This week the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced its decision to challenge the deal. This means they will file a lawsuit to block the merger, and arguments will be heard by a judge.

This sounds alarming, so I want to reinforce my confidence that this deal will close. The allegation that this deal is anti-competitive doesn’t align with the facts, and we believe we’ll win this challenge.

Thanks to the hard work by all of you every day, we’re on a strong path, bringing epic joy to players around the world with what I believe are the greatest games in the industry. At the same time, the competitive landscape is shifting, and, simply put, a combined Microsoft-ABK will be good for players, good for employees, good for competition and good for the industry. Our players want choice, and this gives them exactly that. You can read more about the specifics on those points in this update we recently shared with you.

We believe these arguments will win despite a regulatory environment focused on ideology and misconceptions about the tech industry.

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