The U.S. court has rejected the FTC’s request to pause the acquisition of Activision-Blizzard by Microsoft while the regulator’s appeal case is still ongoing. This means that Microsoft is now free to proceed with the deal.
According to the documentation, the Federal Trade Commission requested injunctive relief from the court. The FTC aimed to prevent Microsoft from finalizing the acquisition before a ruling is made in the regulator’s appeal case. However, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has now denied that request. This means that Microsoft can complete the acquisition once the previous temporary restraining order set by the court expires, which happened on Saturday, July 15, at 08:59 Dutch time.
The initial hearings in the FTC’s appeal case are scheduled for August 2. If the judge rules in favour of the FTC in this case, the acquisition will likely have already been completed, and both companies will have to separate again.
The UK regulator CMA had previously blocked the acquisition. After the U.S. court rejected the FTC’s request to temporarily block the acquisition on Tuesday, the CMA decided to sit down with Microsoft again and negotiate new measures. According to Bloomberg sources, Microsoft is considering selling the cloud gaming rights in the UK to another company to alleviate the CMA’s concerns. The CMA’s investigation into the acquisition is ongoing until August 29 unless it can reach an agreement with Microsoft earlier.
Microsoft officially has until July 18 to finalize the deal with Activision-Blizzard. After that, both parties can choose to renegotiate the terms. Activision-Blizzard is also free to cancel the acquisition entirely after July 18. In that case, Microsoft would have to pay a $3 billion penalty. Both companies can also choose to extend this deadline.