Microsoft Activision takeover: no “substantive” settlement negotiations with US FTC, lawyer says
There are no “substantial” settlement talks underway between US President Joe Biden’s administration and Microsoft to resolve a legal dispute over the $69 billion (about Rs 5.71900 crore) bid. from Xbox maker to game maker Activision Blizzard, a Federal Trade Commission attorney said Tuesday.
The FTC, which enforces antitrust law, asked a judge to block the deal in early December, arguing it would give Microsoft’s Xbox exclusive access to Activision games, leaving Nintendo consoles and Sony’s PlayStation out in the cold. .
FTC attorney James Weingarten, speaking in a brief pretrial telephone hearing, said there were no “substantive” settlement discussions between the two parties underway.
Microsoft argues the deal would benefit both players and game companies, offering to sign a legally binding consent decree with the FTC to supply Call of Duty games to rivals, including Sony, for a decade.
The case reflects the heavy-handed approach to antitrust enforcement taken by US President Joe Biden’s administration. But antitrust experts say the FTC faces an uphill battle to convince a judge to block the deal, due to voluntary concessions offered by Microsoft to allay fears it could dominate the games market.
FTC administrative law judge Michael Chappell will rule on the deal after hearings scheduled for August 2023. Either side can then appeal to the same FTC commissioners who voted to bring the challenge, and then to a court. American call.
The deal is under scrutiny within the European Union which must decide by March 23 whether to allow or block the deal.
© Thomson Reuters 2023
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