Jul 12, 2023 - Economy

FTC to appeal ruling paving the way for Microsoft-Activision deal

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

The Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday said it would appeal a decision by a U.S. court to allow Microsoft to acquire gaming giant Activision Blizzard for nearly $70 billion.

Why it matters: It's likely the FTC's last chance to block a merger before an injunction barring the deal expires this weekend.

Driving the news: Notice of the appeal was filed to a U.S. District Court in San Francisco Wednesday evening.

The intrigue: The FTC will have to convince the appeals court that the district court erred this week in ruling against it.

  • The court found that the FTC did not present a strong enough case that the merger would harm consumers by limiting consumer choice.

Catch up quick: Microsoft won a major victory over the FTC on Tuesday when a federal judge denied an injunction request from the FTC to temporarily block the tech giant from acquiring Activision Blizzard.

What they're saying: A spokesperson for Activision Blizzard said in a statement the company is "confident the U.S. will remain among the 39 countries where the merger can close" and they looked forward "to reinforcing the strength of our case in court, again."

The big picture: Under the Biden Administration, the FTC has pushed aggressively to limit big corporate mergers. But it has been largely unsuccessful.

  • The deal between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard serves as the biggest litmus test yet for the FTC's power.

Go deeper: Microsoft court loss latest merger defeat for Lina Khan's FTC

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from an Activision Blizzard spokesperson and with further context.

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