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FTC reportedly softens stance on blocking Microsoft Activision Blizzard merger

Deal with it.

The US Federal Trade Commission reportedly looks to be leaning towards an approval of Microsoft's $68.7bn Activision Blizzard takeover.

Previously, the FTC's involvement in the deal had signalled a headache for Microsoft, which is facing regulatory approval around the world, and close scrutiny here in the UK. A lawsuit looked imminent - potentially blocking the acquisition, or carving out major concessions.

However, a fresh report by the New York Post into the FTC panel set to decide the deal's fate suggests the trade body is now looking more likely to let it pass.

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The four-person panel looked previously to have been against the deal by three-to-one, with the commission's only Republican, Christine Wilson, as the sole person in favour. That has now reportedly changed to an even split, with one of the commission's Democrats seemingly switching sides.

To cut a lot of politics short, this now means the FTC's chair is likely to approve the deal - although there's still the possibility for concessions.

Microsoft recently signalled it would be open to making concessions part of the deal process - potentially formalising some of the verbal promises Xbox boss Phil Spencer has been discussing in the media over recent weeks.

This, coupled with Microsoft's cosiness with US politics and prior good business track record, now puts the chances of the deal being approved at "70 percent", according to former FTC chairman William Kovacic.

"It does become hard to say, 'This is not good enough,'" said Kovacic, discussing Microsoft's recent signal it was open to concessions. "It becomes more difficult for the Commission to push this aside.

"The way out is to say, 'We got a great deal and only got it because we've been badasses'."

Microsoft and Activision have previously said they expect the deal to be finalised before the middle of 2023.