To block Microsoft Corp.’s Thursday filing, the Federal Trade Commission sued Microsoft Corp. planned $75 billion acquisitionOf
Activision Blizzard Inc.,
Stopping a merger among technology giants was one of the biggest achievements of the Biden administration.
This lawsuit will set the stage for a court battle over the deal, as Microsoft and Activision agreed to defend the acquisition from a government lawsuit.
“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, in a statement. “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.”
FTC alleged that Microsoft has previously suppressed competition by rivals in its complaint its 2021 acquisition of ZeniMax Media Inc.Bethesda Softworks’ owner. The agency said Microsoft made several of Bethesda’s games, including “Starfield” and “Redfall,” exclusive to its own platforms, despite giving assurances to European antitrust authorities that it would do otherwise.
Microsoft stated that it believes the agreement will increase competition and provide more opportunities for game developers and gamers.
“We have been committed since Day One to addressing competition concerns, including by offering earlier this week proposed concessions to the FTC,”
Microsoft vice chair and President, said. “While we believed in giving peace a chance, we have complete confidence in our caseAnd welcome the opportunity to present our case in court.”
Microsoft’s deal for Activision, which would be its biggest-ever acquisition, is also under investigation by antitrust regulators in the U.K and the European Union. The FTC alleged the deal would allow Microsoft, with ownership of Activision’s catalog of games such as Call of Duty, to prevent rivals such as
Sony Group Corp.
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