Microsoft & Activision Ask FTC To Pause Case Against Acquisition & Consider Dropping It

Microsoft & Activision Ask FTC To Pause Case Against Acquisition & Consider Dropping It

The Federal Trade Commission has published a motion by Microsoft and Activision Blizzard asking the regulator to put its administrative proceeding against the acquisition on hold.

The motion, published on the FTC’s official website (via FossPatents Blog Founder Florian Mueller) requests that the regulator withdraw the case from adjudication “in order to consider whether the public interest warrants further litigation.”

According to the request, the Federal Trade Commission Act describes the conditions for the withdrawal from adjudication met after a district court and a court of appeals denied injunctive relief.

At that point, this motion can be filed and the secretary (of the FTC) “shall issue an order withdrawing the matter from adjudication 2 days after such a motion is filed.”

Microsoft and Activision argue the granting of the motion is not only mandatory, but in the public interest as well, as the FTC failed to raise any serious questions regarding the legality of the merger with the District Court, and there is little reason to believe that the administrative law judge would reach a different conclusion.

On top of that, the parties mention that the regulator’s case is further undermined by the fact that Sony has accepted the 10-year deal to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation platforms.

The document also mentions that the FTC has granted this kind of request in all similar cases for the past thirty years, withdrawing the matter from adjudication and then, after reasoned consideration of the district ruling, dropping the case completely.

At the moment, we don’t know whether the FTC will grant the request or not. It’ll be interesting to see what happens over the next couple of days.

Earlier today, the parties announced that they have extended the deadline for the merger, while the plaintiffs of the so-called “Gamers’ lawsuit” saw their plea for an emergency injunction denied by the Supreme Court yesterday.

In the UK, the CMA is now taking a much more diplomatic stance following its denial as Microsoft is presenting an amended version of the deal that should address the regulator’s concern.

Elsewhere, most regulators have ruled in favor of the acquisition, including recent decisions by the European Union, China, South Korea, South Africa, and Turkey, with a total of 40 countries clearing the acquisition.


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