Microsoft and the FTC set to argue Activision deal June 22

Kareem Anderson

Microsoft and the US Federal Trade Commission will meet for the first of several engagements on June 22, 2023 as the two discuss the fate of a $68.2 billion acquisition of games publisher Activision Blizard.

Over the course of five days, Microsoft lawyers will officially present the case for its multi-billion dollar bid to acquire the largest game publisher in the industry while the FTC will finally exhibit its suit against the deal.

The FTC maintains that the “maker of Xbox would gain control of top video game franchises, enabling it to harm competition in high-performance gaming consoles and subscription services by denying or degrading rivals’ access to its popular content.”

Adding context, in December of 2022 the FTC filed a complaint seeking to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard ahead of its June court date. About a week ago the FTC sought an injunction and a temporary restraining order to once again block the Activision deal if a decision by June 28, 2023 doesn’t fall in its favor.

In addition, Microsoft and Activision have an evidentiary hearing scheduled for August 2, 2023 that is set to follow any appeals processes put into motion by the meetings with the FTC starting this week.

Unlike other regulatory hearings, even those as contentious as the UK’s Competition and Markets Authorities (CMA), Microsoft is set to have its top executives present during its FTC showdown this week.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Xbox chief Phil Spencer, company president Brad Smith, and a whole host of others will be in attendance to plead the case for the Activision merger signifying how important it is the deal passes the FTC.

Microsoft and Activision have told investors they’re seeking to close the deal by July 18, 2023.

However, with the proceeding cases spread out over the summer, Microsoft and Activision may need to revisit their proposed timeline and the looming $3 billion break-up fee that was embedded in the deal as part of speedy closure.