FTC sues to block Microsoft from buying maker of Call of Duty

Dec 8, 2022, 3:34 PM
unlimited time off at Microsoft...
Microsoft is moving to an unlimited time off policy. (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is suing to block Microsoft’s $69 billion deal to acquire video game company Activision Blizzard, which produces, among other games, World of Warcraft, Guitar Hero, and Call of Duty.

The FTC said the deal would harm competition, by keeping games out of the hands of companies that compete with Microsoft’s Xbox gaming system.

Microsoft strikes 10-year deal with Nintendo on Call of Duty

“We continue to believe that this deal will expand competition and create more opportunities for gamers and game developers,” Microsoft President Brad Smith told Bloomberg News.

Smith told Bloomberg the company is committed to addressing competition concerns and that it offered concessions to the FTC earlier this week.

According to Bloomberg, the transaction would turn Microsoft into the No. 3 gaming company behind Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Sony Group Corp.

European regulators say Microsoft did a similar deal when it acquired Bethesda Softworks and its parent company ZeniMax, last year.

But don’t expect Microsoft to back down. “Microsoft is signaling they’re not going down without a fight,” says Alex Halverson, a tech reporter for the Puget Sound Business Journal.

“Microsoft is indicating that it’s not abandoning the deal, and it’s probably going to fight this in court. They really want this acquisition. It’s a $69 billion dollar deal that they’re proposing, and it’s HUGE for the future of their gaming industry.”

Halverson says Activision Blizzard is also pushing for the deal to come through.

Bloomberg News said Microsoft’s proposed Activision Blizzard deal is the company’s largest ever and one of the 30 biggest acquisitions of all time.

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FTC sues to block Microsoft from buying maker of Call of Duty