FTC weighs settlement over lawsuit for Microsoft’s Activision deal

Kareem Anderson

FTC chair Lina Khan in Office

The Microsoft and Activision deal may soon snag a positive fish with the FTC considering a settlement for the merger instead of a lawsuit.

Last week we reported that insiders familiar with the FTC’s investigation into Microsoft’s bid to acquire Activision, believed the regulatory body could be set to file a lawsuit against the merger but it now seems some voting members could be ready to approve the deal with some concessions.

At the time, there had been no reporting of how the voting would lean in regards to the Microsoft and Activision deal but that a hardened FTC chair Lina Khan would be likely to use the merger as staple for her scrutiny of “Big Tech” legislation.

However, according to a recent New York Post report, the four-person voting block of FTC investigative members assigned to Microsoft’s acquisition may be split down the middle on whether or not to approve the deal and could paint Khan into a concessions corner.

In addition to Microsoft’s publicly stated intentions to work with every regulatory body to come to an agreement and lengthening the established Activision and Sony deal, Khan’s lawsuit could begin to lose the perception battle before it begins.

To avoid potential infighting and politicking over the deal, the three democrat and one republican panel headed by Khan may seek to approve the Microsoft deal with similar modifications to Microsoft’s proposed offer that include an extended contract deal with Sony over the Call of Duty franchise.

Speaking with the New York Post, former FTC chairman William Kovacic posits a similar strategy to what Microsoft has already begun deploying.

What makes it difficult is when Microsoft goes to their friends in blue and says, ‘We have provided a package of solutions for all the perceived problems, and the folks at the FTC are being very unreasonable if they don’t take it.

Combine a potentially split voting block and receding claims to block the merger as the EU and UK wring concessions out of Microsoft and Activision, an FTC’s antitrust lawsuit seems less likely each day.