The acquisition of Activision by Microsoft in the sights of the American competition authority

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is expected to initiate anti-monopoly legal proceedings against Microsoft in connection with the acquisition of publisher Activision Blizzard.

Could the biggest takeover in video game history be about to fall apart? According to information from Politico, Microsoft’s acquisition of publisher Activision Blizzard is in the crosshairs of the Federal Trade Commission in the United States (FTC). Three people familiar with the case say that the US competition authority would like to initiate anti-monopoly legal proceedings.

An operation attacked for months

This action would aim to verify in detail that the new entity, formed after the marriage of the two groups, does not occupy too important a place in the video game sector. On the one hand, Microsoft appears as a computer giant and a heavyweight in video games since it manufactures Xbox consoles. On the other, the Activision Blizzard group is one of the biggest publishers in the field, thanks in particular to the franchise call of duty or mobile game candy Crush.

Attacked for months by its main competitor Sony, which markets the PlayStation, Microsoft has never ceased to show its credentials. The two rivals mainly revolve around the famous shooting game series call of duty.

By getting their hands on the famous license, Microsoft has the possibility of depriving the PlayStation ecosystem of these games by making them exclusive to its Xbox models. However, this strategy is not on the agenda. On several occasions since the announcement of the takeover in January, the American group has assured that the securities call of duty would remain available on the consoles of its Japanese competitor “at least a few years”, in the words of Phil Spencer, the boss of Xbox.

“Skeptics” about the arguments

Around the world, the merger of Microsoft and Activision Blizzard is studied on a case-by-case basis. Thus, each country, or set of countries, can decide to ask Microsoft for details or to probe the competition. Brazil validated the takeover in early October while in Europe, an investigation was opened to scrutinize the operation.

As for the FTC, the legal action is not yet recorded. The lawsuit has yet to be voted on internally, two of the US competition authority’s four commissioners told Politico.

The regulator’s classic investigation is still ongoing, although much of it has already been done. Depositions from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Activision CEO Bobby Kotick have already been reviewed. Politico’s sources told the outlet “to be skeptical” of the arguments being made. But if legal action is initiated, it could be done as early as next month.

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