FTC Obtains Temporary Restraining Order against Microsoft's Acquisition of Activision Blizzard

Published: June 13, 2023 9:29 PM /


Xbox Acvision Microsoft Acquisition

Today a judge of the United States District Court Northern District of California temporarily restrained Microsoft from closing its acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

Following the motion by the FTC to obtain a said temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction that would prevent the acquisition, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley ruled in favor of the TRO. 

According to the order, obtained by The Verge, Microsoft and Activision are not allowed to close the deal before five business days after the court can rule on the preliminary injunction.

An evidentiary hearing for said ruling has been set for June 22 and June 23, but it isn't known iwhether the verdict will take longer to be reached. Microsoft is requested to submit their opposition to the injunction by June 16 and the FTC is ordered to submit their reply by June 20. 

Interestingly, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley recently ruled against a preliminary injunction in the so-called "Gamer's Lawsuit." That being said, it's unknown whether this new proceeding will reach the same result or a different one. 

In the meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic ocean, a case management conference for Microsoft's appeal against the CMA's decision to block the acquisition was hosted in London yesterday, 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. So far, the FTC and the CMA have been completely isolated in their hostile stance. 

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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