Now that the US Federal Trade Commission has been handed two big losses in its challenge of the $69B merger between Microsoft and Activision-Blizzard, both companies have seen fit to file a motion for the FTC to withdraw its planned August hearing, suggesting that these losses are an indication that the courts will continue to deny the FTC’s challenges.
The motion notes that even after an admittedly “robust” pile of evidence submitted by the FTC, testimony from multiple CEOs, 851 exhibits, and “voluminous pre-and-post hearing writ[ten] submissions,” the FTC still lost out; the attorneys argue continuing to move ahead would just be more of the same. “In light of this thorough airing and the district court’s findings that the FTC failed to raise any serious questions regarding the legality of the merger, there is little reason to believe the [administrative law judge] would reach a different conclusion,” reads part of the motion.
The filing also asserts that the FTC’s principal complaint over the deal is undermined by Sony signing on to the 10-year Call of Duty agreement with Microsoft.
Readers will remember that the deadline for this transaction has since been extended into October in return for a higher termination fee, so between this attempt to make the FTC back down and the ongoing negotiations between both companies and the UK Competition and Markets Authority, this is likely not a done deal yet.