FTC loses last-ditch shot at appealing Microsoft Activision Blizzard case, clearing the way for the deal to close in the US

News Update: The 9th circuit of the United States has rejected the Federal Trade Commission’s plea for an order to stop the Microsoft Activision Blizzard case, allowing the latter’s acquisition to proceed in the US in the upcoming days.

Following Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley’s previous decision against the FTC’s attempt to halt Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard, the FTC’s appeal has now been dismissed by a US court, resulting in yet another significant defeat for the federal body. Microsoft is now able to finalize its acquisition of Activision once Corley’s temporary restraining order expires at 11:59pm PT tonight. The company has until July 18 to complete the process.

The court has rejected the appeal of the Federal Trade Commission regarding Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, as reported by Reuters on July 14. Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley, who had previously ruled against the FTC’s attempt to halt the acquisition, has once again denied the FTC’s appeal.

In her verdict, Judge Corley stated, “The FTC asks this Court to halt the merger until the resolution of the FTC’s appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The motion is denied.” Interestingly, the popular game Call of Duty played a significant role in the judge’s decision to reject the FTC’s appeal in this case.

Judge Corley added, “Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision has been described as the largest in tech history. It deserves careful examination. Such scrutiny has been beneficial, as Microsoft has made written commitments to publicly and legally ensure that Call of Duty remains available on PlayStation for 10 years, on par with Xbox. They have also entered agreements with Nintendo to bring Call of Duty to the Switch and have initiated several agreements to make Activision’s content available on various cloud gaming services.”

Although Microsoft faced clecriticism earlier this year for signing numerous 10-year deals with various competitors, these agreements have arly influenced Judge Corley, indicating that Microsoft intends to uphold its commitments to expanding Call of Duty to more platforms and keeping it accessible on PlayStation devices, should the acquisition be approved.

Yesterday, it was revealed that Activision Blizzard is preparing to delist from the top 100 index of the US stock exchange, signaling the imminent closure of the acquisition. The delisting is scheduled for Monday, June 17, strongly suggesting that Activision Blizzard could become a part of Microsoft within a week.

The only remaining opposition to the acquisition is the UK’s Competition Markets Authority, which could potentially pose a significant obstacle to the deal. However, the organization has expressed its willingness to negotiate with Microsoft and Activision Blizzard, provided they are open to discussing and potentially amending certain aspects of the planned acquisition.

For a glimpse at the exclusive games currently in development by Microsoft, you can visit our upcoming Xbox Series X games guide.

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.

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