The U.S. Federal Trade Commission cannot stop Microsoft’s proposed $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard, a California judge ruled on Tuesday.
The deal, originally announced 17 months ago, can now move forward by the July 18 deadline.
In her ruling, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley said, “Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision has been described as the largest in tech history,” and “it deserves scrutiny.”
“Microsoft has committed in writing, in public, and in court to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for 10 years on parity with Xbox,” she continued. “It made an agreement with Nintendo to bring Call of Duty to Switch. And it entered several agreements for the first-time to bring Activision’s content to several cloud gaming services.”
“The Court finds the FTC has not shown a likelihood it will prevail on its claim this particular vertical merger in this specific industry may substantially lessen competition, and “the motion for a preliminary injunction is therefore denied,” Corley added.
The Activision purchase will give Microsoft ownership of popular video game titles like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush.
The FTC wanted to block the deal because the trade regulator believed Activision’s incorporation into Microsoft would hurt competition in the video game industry.
In an interview with FOX Business, Stephen Kent at the Consumer Choice Center, said “Judge Corley showed a deep respect for consumer interest, namely the gamers who will be most impacted by Microsoft acquiring Activision-Blizzard.
“Biden’s FTC under Lina Khan has shown no interest in consumer protection, as illustrated throughout the hearings and pointed out on the final day by Judge Corley herself,” he said. “President Biden should be taking note of how poor FTC Chair Lina Khan has been at her job, and how far she’s strayed from the mission of consumer protection.”
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