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FTC appeals to block already-completed Microsoft-Activision deal

The Federal Trade Commission has made its appeal to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard – despite the $68.7 billion deal closing in October.

As Reuters reports, lawyers representing the FTC and Microsoft appeared before a three-judge panel at the Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals yesterday.

The FTC argued that district judge Jacqueline Scott Corley, who denied the government body’s appeal for a preliminary injunction in July, held the FTC to too high a standard.

Imad Abyad, an attorney representing the FTC, argued that the government body only had to show the potential for Microsoft to withhold games from other platforms rather than to make a case that the deal was anticompetitive.

Abyad said Microsoft had done this in the past after acquiring Zenimax in 2020, making some of its titles exclusive to Microsoft.

“I fail to understand how giving somebody a monopoly of something would be pro-competitive,” he argued, as reported by CNN.”It may be a benefit to some class of consumers, but that is very different than saying it is pro-competitive.”

Rakesh Kilaru, who represented Microsoft, said Corley’s ruling presented “clear factual findings” and that “the world will be better with the merger.”

Kilaru added that it was “also clear that the standard can’t be as low as the FTC is suggesting” and that “it can’t be kind of a mere scintilla of evidence.”

On October 13, Activision Blizzard officially became a part of Microsoft after first announcing the deal in January 2022.

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