Microsoft Corp will today defend its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard Inc. in a private antitrust lawsuit filed by gamers in federal court in San Francisco. Plaintiffs say the deal would hurt competition in the gaming industry and should be stopped.
At the hearing, US District Judge Jacqueline Corley will review a request for an injunction against the proposed acquisition. “What plaintiffs are asking of this court is unprecedented. They did not cite a single case in which a court had issued an injunction based on alleged claims for damages by multiple individual consumers.Microsoft attorneys told Judge Corley in a May 5 filing. The deal, which was first announced in January 2022, is subject to scrutiny by regulators in the US, European Union, UK and other countries. The UK’s antitrust authority said in April it would block the Microsoft takeover after the company failed to allay competition concerns. In addition, shortly thereafter, the regulator issued an injunction barring the two companies from buying each other’s shares.
A US Federal Trade Commission case against the deal is pending with the agency. Joseph Alioto, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said that gamers “very strong complaintto contest the acquisition. In response, a Microsoft spokesman stated that the plaintiffs’ complaint “unsubstantiated and implausible allegations about the competitive impact of the transactionU.S. antitrust laws allow private consumers to sue potential acquisitions when the transaction approval process deviates from standard state regulatory measures. Judge Corley dismissed plaintiffs’ earlier complaint in March, which she described as “insufficienthowever, allowed them to resubmit a more detailed application.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs on Monday asked Judge Corley to block the deal pending a hearing over the merits of the acquisition.