The Supreme Court has rejected an 11-hour bid to stop Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, maker of blockbuster games like Call of Duty, Candy Crush and World of Warcraft, dropping what appears to be the last legal challenge standing in the way of closing the deal.
Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan on Tuesday denied a request by a group of players for an emergency order to stop the merger. On Friday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request by the Federal Trade Commission to halt the merger, after a federal district court judge on July 11 denied the FTC’s request to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Kagan, who reviews emergency motions to the Ninth Circuit Supreme Court, offered no explanation for her decision Movement refused.
On Monday, the gamers’ group asked the Supreme Court to block the deal, asserting that Microsoft’s resulting power in the gaming industry would result in consumer damages. “A merger between Microsoft and Activision would be one of, if not the largest technology mergers in history, at a time when concentration among technology companies is already threatening the competitive balance of our economies and even our political systems,” said Joseph Alioto, attorney Joseph Alioto representing the group, writing in their application. to the Supreme Court.
Microsoft announced Sunday a binding deal with Sony that will keep Activision’s Call of Duty on PlayStation platforms for 10 years after Microsoft’s acquisition of the games company. In her July 11 ruling rejecting the FTC’s motion to halt the deal, District Court Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley cited in part Microsoft’s commitment to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for 10 years, on par with Xbox, and that Microsoft signed an agreement with Nintendo to bring the game to Nintendo Switch. She wrote that the judge found that “the FTC did not appear likely to prevail” over its claim that a merger “might substantially reduce competition.” On the contrary, the Standard Guide indicates greater consumer access to Call of Duty and other Activision content.
Microsoft first announced its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard in January 2022.
The deal has also faced opposition in the UK, where the country’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) ruled last year to stop the Microsoft-Activision merger on the grounds that it was anti-competitive. Last week, Microsoft and the CMA said it was stop their legal battle On the deal later, however, the CMA said any modification to Microsoft’s deal for Activision Blizzard could lead to a new investigation.
Microsoft and Activision Blizzard unlikely to close the deal by the original July 18, 2023 deadline for the merger agreement, as they look to secure final regulatory approval in the UK, Bloomberg mentionedCiting anonymous sources.
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