The Microsoft-Activision Blizzard deal would be reviewed by the FTC


The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is reportedly taking the reins of reviewing Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard – amid a more aggressive stance by the government agency on Big Tech mergers.

Bloomberg reports that a source indicated the FTC was taking the lead role in the proposed takeover investigation — a job it handles alongside the Justice Department. The role of the review is to determine whether the nearly $70 billion deal could harm consumers, rivals and partners.

On the same day that Microsoft’s deal was announced, the Justice Department and the FTC announced plans to rewrite merger guidelines, warning that US industries had become increasingly concentrated. FTC Chair Lina Khan said such concentration could lead to higher prices and lower wages.

The Wall Street Journal previously reported that the FTC is particularly concerned about Big Tech companies like Microsoft, and that Khan has reframed the argument against major mergers not just by its traditional effect on consumers and rivals, but on businesses. partners – for example those who are actually obligated to sell through the Apple Store or Amazon’s digital storefront.

The FTC recently filed a lawsuit to block two huge mergers: Nvidia’s purchase of Arm and Lockheed Martin’s takeover of rocket engine maker Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings.

It remains to be seen whether the FTC has a similar case to make regarding Microsoft and Activision Blizzard — and a legal expert tells IGN the deal is unlikely to violate current antitrust laws — but it seems clear the deal will. examined more closely than that of Microsoft. acquisition of ZeniMax Media.

Joe Skrebels is IGN’s news editor. Follow him on Twitter. Any advice to give us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an e-mail to [email protected].


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