Microsoft’s $69 Billion Gaming Platform Merger Put on Hold by Federal Judge


A US federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked Microsoft from completing its $69 billion purchase of gaming giant Activision Blizzard. Judge Edward Davila said in a ruling that “it is necessary to maintain the status quo” while the court considers a long-term injunction on purchases as requested by regulators at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). As per the ruling, a hearing was set for June 22 and June 23 in San Francisco federal court to hear evidence in the case.

The decision comes a day after the FTC asked a federal court to block Microsoft from completing its blockbuster purchase of Activision Blizzard as it contemplates regulatory action. “This requires a preliminary injunction … to block interim damages,” the regulator said in the filing, until the FTC determines “whether the proposed acquisition violates US antitrust law.”

Tuesday’s ruling blocks Microsoft from moving forward with the deal before a court decides whether to issue a preliminary injunction sought by regulators. Requesting a preliminary injunction in Northern California district court, the US government sought to prevent the companies from finalizing the deal before the July 18 deadline.

An FTC hearing is scheduled in August to debate the merits of the deal, and a restraining order would block the deal before that process is complete. A California judge will have to agree to block the deal after hearing arguments from the FTC on why the purchase is illegal and from Microsoft on why it should proceed. “We welcome the opportunity to present our case in federal court,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said Monday. “We believe that speeding up the legal process in the US will ultimately lead to more choice and competition in the marketplace. ( PLC/GT )


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