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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in December announced it was looking to sue to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard as it would give Microsoft the ability to suppress its competitors in gaming.
A new report from Bloomberg claims the FTC filed the lawsuit quicker than expected as a way to dissuade the European Union regulators from accepting a settlement allowing the deal to be approved. This is according to people familiar with the investigations.
The FTC reportedly filed its complaint a matter of hours after US and European Union officials held a call about their investigations into the deal. During the call the European Union regulators said they planned to start discussions with Microsoft about a settlement.
This knowledge is what led the FTC to file the lawsuit on the same day, even though this wasn’t supposed to happen until later in the investigation, according to the report. The FTC wasn’t going to act until the Spring, according to the sources.
Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson LLP’s antitrust head Barry Nigro told Bloomberg the lawsuit was an attempt to “get out in front of the Europeans in an effort to shape the narrative.”
FTC in its original filing looking to block the deal stated, “Microsoft decided to make several of Bethesda’s titles including Starfield and Redfall Microsoft exclusives despite assurances it had given to European antitrust authorities that it had no incentive to withhold games from rival consoles.
“Microsoft has already shown that it can and will withhold content from its gaming rivals,” said the Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, Holly Vedova at the time. “Today we seek to stop Microsoft from gaining control over a leading independent game studio and using it to harm competition in multiple dynamic and fast-growing gaming markets.”
There was another report from this month that Microsoft is likely it will receive an antitrust warning from European Union regulators. The European Commission is preparing a statement of objections that will be sent to Microsoft in the coming weeks, according to the report.
Microsoft was already reportedly looking to offer remedies to concerns the European Commission in an attempt to prevent a statement of objections and to get the deal passed sooner. However, it appears the EU regulators are not open to remedies until after it sends its statement of objections.
Chile’s regulatory authority, the Fiscalia Nacional Economica, in December 2022 released its ruling on Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition and has voted to approve the deal in Phase 1. The acquisition has also been confirmed to have been approved in Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Serbia unconditionally.
A life-long and avid gamer, William D’Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012 and taking over the hardware estimates in 2017. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel. You can contact the author on Twitter @TrunksWD.