FTC Will Take The Lead On Investigating Microsoft’s Acquisition Of Activision Blizzard

Microsoft recently announced the biggest acquisition of all time in the gaming sector. The company has filed to acquire to video-game studio Activision Blizzard for a whooping $68.7 billion USD, making the deal one of the biggest acquisitions ever. If the purchase goes through, it would make Microsoft the third biggest gaming company in the world. However, with a deal this huge there are questions to be raised, and it looks like we know who’s gonna raise them.

Bloomberg reports that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will be in charge of investigating the acquisition and it will take a stern approach to ensure the deal does not negatively affect competition. The Justice Department will assist the FTC in this endeavor. The main goal of the investigation would be to determine whether the acquisition could harm consumers, rivals, and partners.

The FTC will probe this deal from every angle possible as it has grown harsher towards Big Tech mergers like this recently with the increase in merger filings in 2020/2021. It has criticized that U.S. industries have become more and more concentrated. Under the Biden administration, FTC has promised to go harder on any large acquisitions to ensure conglomeration doesn’t prevail.

This is not merely just a claim either. In only the past few months, FTC sued to block NVIDIA‘s $40 billion acquisition of ARM, which has now failed, and on the day Microsoft announced the Activision Blizzard deal, FTC also announced that it would rewrite merger guidelines to strengthen competition and disallow Big Tech to easily get away with massive deals that undermine healthy rivalry.

Just days after this announcement, the FTC unanimously voted to block Lockheed Martin‘s $4.4 billion purchase of rocket engine maker Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings over antitrust concerns. So, when you see that the FTC is handling the approval of this acquisition, expect some potent persuading from Microsoft. That being said, the company is confident that it won’t have any problems getting the deal approved.

Microsoft’s purchase of ZeniMax Media in 2020 took 6 months to get approved and was, generally, a pretty smooth sail. This deal, however, will see Microsoft scrutinized to a much larger degree, something it has been mostly spared of so far in the fight against Big Tech (Google, Facebook, Apple, etc). It remains to be seen if FTC will take a stance akin to what Congress did against Facebook, but if the deal somehow falls through, Reuters reports that Microsoft would be liable to a $3 billion USD breakup fee.

Huzaifa Haroon
Born and raised around computers, Huzaifa is an avid gamer and a Windows enthusiast. When he's not solving the mysteries of technology, you can find him writing about operating systems, striving to inform the curious.

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FTC Will Take The Lead On Investigating Microsoft’s Acquisition Of Activision Blizzard

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