While it hasn’t been particularly easy for the Microsoft/Xbox – Activision Blizzard merger so far, things could get a lot more challenging soon. According to a Politico report, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) may be looking to file an antitrust lawsuit to block Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
While regulatory bodies around the world have been looking at this merger, Xbox/Microsoft has yet to hit a major hurdle. The biggest hurdle could be standing in your way in the form of the FTC. A lawsuit challenging the merger has yet to be confirmed, but Politico reports that FTC staff are reviewing the deal and are skeptical of the companies’ arguments.
This is a big deal for Microsoft, as its $69 billion could crumble under the weight of the FTC’s antitrust lawsuit challenge. Microsoft faced similar antitrust problems more than 2 decades ago, and a second challenge on a scale like this does not bode well for the company.
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Microsoft: $69 Billion Activision Blizzard Merger Draws FTC Attention
If the FTC were to challenge this merger, it would be the largest antitrust lawsuit ever brought under President Lina Khan.
“At the heart of the FTC’s concerns is whether the Activision acquisition would give Microsoft an unfair boost in the video game market.” read the Political report. “Microsoft’s Xbox is number three behind industry-leading Sony Interactive Entertainment and its PlayStation console. Sony, however, has become the main opponent of the deal, telling the FTC and regulators in other countries that if Microsoft made hit games like Call of Duty exclusive to their platforms, Sony would be at a significant disadvantage.
Xbox has issued an official statement that essentially lays accusations against Sony for making self-serving statements in an attempt to maintain its leading position in the gaming market. Much of the conflict between Sony and Microsoft stems from the latter gaining control of the Call of Duty franchise and fixing it on its platform. Xbox CEO Phil Spencer has made public statements suggesting that the COD franchise will remain on PlayStation for a considerable time.
The arguments on both sides have been very interesting, to say the least, as Xbox seemingly makes the case that Call of Duty may not be the cash cow it appears to be, as the games have consistently been highly ranked.
Microsoft has reportedly offered Sony a 10-year deal to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation. Xbox’s argument against any antitrust issue centers on Sony’s market power that could not be shut out by the smallest of the three console competitors, Xbox, gaining access to a franchise. It will be very interesting to see how this pans out for either party and if Microsoft’s offer ultimately goes through.
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