The American Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is currently preparing a lawsuit against Microsoft's Activision Blizzard takeover. Politico reports, citing people familiar with the events. In addition to the EU and UK, it would be another competitive procedure in one of the relevant markets.
Doubts about the USD 68.7 billion deal
The decision is not final yet. FTC commissioners have yet to vote on the lawsuit or meet with attorneys for the two companies, Politico said. However, the employees of the US competition authority who are investigating the takeover are said to be extremely skeptical about the plans. The FTC declined to make an official comment.
Microsoft announced earlier this year that it would acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. A record amount in the gaming industry. Because Microsoft would also hold the rights to brands such as Call of Cuty, Candy Crush or the entire Blizzard catalog with the takeover, market power was an issue from the start.
It is feared that big titles like Call of Duty will appear exclusively for Microsoft's Xbox in the future. However, Microsoft is currently trying to dispel such concerns. It should be contractually stipulated that Call of Duty will remain both an Xbox and a PlayStation title in the future.
In the sights of the market watchdogs
Investigations into the record takeover are already underway in the UK and EU. At the beginning of the month it became known that the EU is aiming for a more thorough examination that could drag on for months. The same would apply if the FTC opened an official proceeding.
“We remain committed to working with regulators around the world to facilitate the acquisition, but will not hesitate to defend this acquisition if necessary,” an Activision Blizzard spokesman said in a statement obtained by The Verge. He rejects competition law concerns and instead speaks of the advantages for the US games industry, which is faced with tough competition from outside.