The US Federal Trade Commission was handed another loss in court this past weekend. Readers will remember that the government body was trying to hit the pause button on the Microsoft and Activision-Blizzard merger as part of its appeal of an earlier injunction denial. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied that temporary pause request, which once again opens up the path for the companies to complete the transaction.
Despite this win, the timeline for the merger still remains extremely tight: Both companies have until July 18th to close the deal or else they will have to either renegotiate the terms, pay a $3B breakup fee if Activision elects to walk, or simply let the clock run down and allow the deal to expire. Further complicating the matter is the continued holdout of the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, which already warned Microsoft that it might re-investigate the merger last Wednesday and agreed to an extension of its consideration period into August 29th.
Meanwhile, Sony has finally given up its fight against Microsoft over the Call of Duty franchise and signed on to the proposed 10-year agreement that promises to keep the series on PlayStation. This agreement was first offered by Microsoft last November as part of concession attempts with the CMA and is similar to one that Nintendo agreed to in February.
In tangential news, the merger has achieved unconditional approval in Turkiye, and earlier court documents from Microsoft called Activision’s decision to pull COD from Steam a “resounding failure.”