The Federal Trade Commission late Wednesday filed notice that it will appeal a judge’s ruling this week that gave Microsoft Corp. the green light to proceed with its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard Inc.
In a filing with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, the FTC is seeking to overturn U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley’s ruling Tuesday, which said the deal would not hurt competition.
“The District Court’s ruling makes crystal clear that this acquisition is good for both competition and consumers,” Brad Smith, Microsoft’s vice chair and president, said in a statement.” We’re disappointed that the FTC is continuing to pursue what has become a demonstrably weak case, and we will oppose further efforts to delay the ability to move forward.”
The FTC has claimed the tie-up of a major videogame platform — Microsoft’s
Xbox — with a major videogame publisher — Activision
makes the wildly popular “Call of Duty,” among other titles — would be harmful to the videogame industry and consumers.
“The facts haven’t changed,” an Activision spokesperson said Wednesday. “We’re confident the U.S. will remain among the 39 countries where the merger can close. We look forward to reinforcing the strength of our case in court, again.”
Microsoft has pledged to keep “Call of Duty” available to Sony’s
PlayStation console for 10 years, and will make it available for Nintendo’s
Switch and some cloud-gaming platforms.
The deal faces a July 18 deadline, and still must gain regulatory approval in the U.K.
Tuesday’s ruling was yet another antitrust setback for the FTC, which has failed to do much to rein in Big Tech, and one analyst told MarketWatch on Tuesday that the regulators need to do ” a much better job of picking their battles,”