Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard merger can’t be blocked by FTC, judge rules

Microsoft and Activision Blizzard earned a big win in court today, as a federal judge ruled that the Federal Trade Commission cannot block the $68.7 billion merger.

The FTC sued Microsoft in December in an attempt to stop its acquisition of the gaming giant, which owns massive franchises like World of Warcraft and Call of Duty; the government body worried that the deal would “enable Microsoft to suppress competitors.” Microsoft already has a significant presence in the gaming industry, producing products like the Xbox console, the Game Pass subscription and Xbox Cloud Gaming, and it owns a number of existing game studios like ZeniMax.

However, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley ruled that Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard would not be anti-competitive.

“The FTC has not shown it is likely to succeed on its assertion the combined firm will probably pull Call of Duty from Sony PlayStation, or that its ownership of Activision content will substantially lessen competition in the video game library subscription and cloud gaming markets,” the judge wrote.

This ruling is a great sign for Microsoft, but the deal is still not set in stone. The Xbox maker is still facing legal challenges in the U.K., where the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is trying to block the deal. However, the European Commission (EC) gave Microsoft the go-ahead in May.

This story is developing…

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