The US competition watchdog has asked a court to temporarily halt Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the largest deal in the history of the video gaming industry,
After suggestions the deal could close on June 15, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said it would file an injunction Monday to stop the deal going through before the US government’s case against the merger could be heard, media reported.
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Britain’s competition authority has already blocked the deal (an appeal will be heard in July), but it was approved in the EU.
The FTC has argued the merger would “harm competition in high-performance gaming consoles and subscription services by denying or degrading rivals’ access to its popular content”.
The deal would give Microsoft’s Xbox exclusive access to Activision games, including smash hit Call of Duty, at the expense of its console rivals Nintendo and Sony.
As a concession, Microsoft has said it would sign a “binding consent decree” with the FTC to provide Call of Duty games to rivals, including Sony’s PlayStation for a decade, Reuters reported.
It has already signed a deal with Nintendo, agreeing that Call of Duty would be available to users of Nintendo devices at the same time Xbox users got access.