On Monday, the Federal Trade Commission of the United States applied for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to block Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard for $69 billion before its July 18 deadline, as reported by Reuters.
“A preliminary injunction is necessary to maintain the status quo and prevent interim harm to competition during the pendency of the FTC’s administrative proceeding to determine whether the Proposed Acquisition violates U.S. antitrust law,” the government agency said in its filing. “A temporary restraining order is necessary to maintain the status quo while this Court decides whether to grant the requested preliminary injunction,” it added.
The FTC said that if the acquisition goes through, ‘’Microsoft would have the ability and increased incentive to withhold or degrade Activision’s content in ways that substantially lessen competition—including competition on product quality, price, and innovation.’’
‘’This loss of competition would likely result in significant harm to consumers in multiple markets at a pivotal time for the industry.’’
In December, the agency already sued Microsoft to block the deal, which would be the largest deal in the history of the tech giant and the gaming industry if it goes through. While it’s also being challenged by the UK’s watchdog, European regulators have recently given their approval partially thanks to Microsoft’s licensing deals with cloud streaming companies.
“We welcome the opportunity to present our case in federal court,” said Microsoft’s Vice Chair and President in a statement following the FTC’s latest move. ‘’We believe accelerating the legal process in the U.S. will ultimately bring more choice and competition to the market.“