FTC Seeks Restraining Order & Preliminary Injunction to Hinder Microsoft's Acquisition of Activision Blizzard

Published: June 12, 2023 5:58 PM /


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Today the FTC has filed a motion requesting a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction in its continued effort to hinder Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

As reported by FOSS Patents founder Florian Mueller, who has a copy of the motion, the FTC required the temporary restraining order with an emergency motion, asking for it to be delivered by June 15, 2023. That kind of order only lasts for two weeks. 

The preliminary injunction, if achieved, would block the acquisition until the end of of the FTC’s administrative proceeding to determine whether the Proposed Acquisition violates United States antitrust law. The trial to determine that point stars on August 2. 

The motion was filed with the United States District Court Northern District of California, which already denied the preliminary injunction requested against Microsoft in the so-called "gamers' lawsuit" which also aims to prevent the acquisition.

According to the report, the motion focuses on the theory that the acquisition would harm competitors in the console market more than on the cloud market, which is the focus of the opposition to the acquisition by the British CMA.

Microsoft president Brad Smith answered the challenge with confidence on Twitter

"Today’s action by the FTC to file suit in our Activision case in federal court should accelerate the decision-making process. This benefits everyone. We always prefer constructive and amicable paths with governments but have confidence in our case and look forward to presenting it."

Earlier today, a case management conference for Microsoft's appeal against the CMA's decision to block the acquisition was hosted in London, and the presiding judge conditionally allowed Microsoft to submit expert evidence to support its case. 

Recently, the European Union approved the deal including proposed remedies to level the competitive playing field on the cloud market, which Microsoft agreed to. A few weeks ago, we learned that the deal was approved by the Chinese authority, while earlier this week, South Korea's regulator also cleared the deal, bringing the number of countries that officially cleared the acquisition to 38.

In an interview published a few days ago, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick mentioned that Microsoft is “by far the best place" for the publisher, adding that the acquisition is "the right thing for the industry."

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