Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard is expected to come to an end. Insiders report that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is ready to stay the lawsuit, paving the way for negotiations on a possible settlement of the dispute.
The move is a victory for Microsoft and Activision to close the biggest deal in gaming history despite regulatory hurdles in the US and UK. On Tuesday, the companies asked the FTC to withdraw the lawsuit, which was due in August in the administrative court.
Under FTC rules, the commission is required to grant the request after losing a lawsuit to prevent the merger, two people familiar with the matter said. A response from the FTC is expected next Thursday.
After the case is dropped, Microsoft and Activision may try to convince FTC officials to accept the agreement or to drop opposition to the agreement altogether. The FTC last week appealed a federal court ruling in favor of the deal, although an appellate court declined to stay Microsoft’s merger while the appeal is pending.
On Wednesday, the companies extended the merger until October 18 this year to give them more time to negotiate with UK regulators, who also opposed the deal. Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) rejected the companies’ merger in April over concerns about the negative impact it would have on the cloud gaming market, but agreed to give Microsoft an unprecedented second attempt at a compromise solution.
Under current rules, the FTC may elect to reopen the case internally even after the deal is officially closed, although the FTC typically waives this procedure when it loses a case in federal court. The future of this deal is still unclear, but one thing is certain: the outcome of this confrontation will definitely have an impact on the future development of the gaming market and the jurisprudence in the field of corporate law.