Appeals Court Rejects FTC's Bid to Block Microsoft's Acquisition of Activision

Appeals Court Rejects FTC’s Bid to Block Microsoft’s Acquisition of Activision

The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) last-minute attempt to halt Microsoft’s $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard has been unsuccessful, as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declined to grant the agency an emergency stay. The court’s decision allows the deal to proceed in the United States, with the major remaining obstacle being a UK regulator.

Previously, a temporary restraining order had been imposed to prevent the closure of the acquisition by Microsoft and Activision. This order was in place until Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley ruled on the FTC’s request for a preliminary injunction. Corley’s rejection of the injunction request set a deadline for the FTC to secure an emergency stay from the appeals court by 11:59 PM PT on July 14th. As the stay was not obtained, Microsoft and Activision are now free to finalize the deal, potentially as early as Saturday.

Expressing appreciation for the Ninth Circuit’s response, Microsoft president and vice-chair, Brad Smith, mentioned on Twitter that this brings them closer to the completion of the regulatory reviews associated with the acquisition.