FTC Sues To Block Microsoft's Deal To Acquire Activision Blizzard

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The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft (MSFT) on Thursday in an attempt to block Microsoft's $69 billion acquisition of "Call of Duty" publisher Activision Blizzard (ATVI).

FTC alleges that the $69 billion deal, Microsoft's largest ever and the largest ever in the video gaming industry, would enable the software behemoth to "suppress competitors to its Xbox gaming consoles and its rapidly growing subscription content and cloud-gaming business."

The suit comes as regulators with the U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority and the European Commission continue to evaluate the deal.

FTC pointed to Microsoft's record of acquiring and using valuable gaming content to suppress competition from rival consoles, including its acquisition of ZeniMax, parent company of Bethesda Softworks.

The agency said that Microsoft decided to make several of Bethesda's titles including Starfield and Redfall Microsoft exclusives despite assurances it had given to European antitrust authorities that it had no incentive to withhold games from rival consoles.

"Microsoft has already shown that it can and will withhold content from its gaming rivals," said Holly Vedova, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Competition. "Today we seek to stop Microsoft from gaining control over a leading independent game studio and using it to harm competition in multiple dynamic and fast-growing gaming markets."

The deal, which Microsoft announced in January 2022, would make the tech giant the third-largest gaming company in the world by revenue behind Tencent and Sony.

Activision produces some of the most popular video game titles, including Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Overwatch.

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