Skip to main content

Microsoft "disappointed" as FTC launches appeal

While the Activision Blizzard deal deadline looms.

Xbox maker Microsoft has said it is "disappointed" to see the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launch a formal appeal to try and overturn this week's bombshell court decision.

Following months of legal wrangling a US judge cleared the way for Microsoft to complete its $68.7bn Activision Blizzard acquisition, after deciding the FTC had not sufficiently proven why it should be blocked.

The FTC, as had been expected, is now appealing this decision - and has already filed to begin the process as quickly as possible.

Reacting to news of the FTC's appeal, Microsoft president Brad Smith stated that the US regulator had a "demonstrably weak case" - and that Microsoft would fight back.

"The District Court's ruling makes crystal clear that this acquisition is good for both competition and consumers," Smith said in a statement passed to Eurogamer, regarding the ruling earlier this week.

"We're disappointed that the FTC is continuing to pursue what has become a demonstrably weak case, and we will oppose further efforts to delay the ability to move forward."

So what happens next? Well, currently Microsoft is subject to a temporary restraining order which stops it from completing the Activision Blizzard purchase before midnight Pacific time this Friday, 14th July.

The FTC may try to have this restraining order extended, though it is unclear whether there is time now for this to be done this week.

And timing is very much of the essence. The Activision Blizzard deal has an expiry date of next Tuesday, 18th July. Microsoft is committed to getting the acquisition closed by then and looks set to push forward with it over the weekend, with Activision Blizzard stock already announced as disappearing from the Nasdaq.

There's also the matter of the UK's Competition and Markets Authority - the other regulator still holding the deal up. But this week brought a glimmer of hope there, as the FTC court decision coaxed it back to the negotiating table.

"The facts haven't changed," Activision Blizzard exec Lulu Cheng Meservey said, noting the FTC's appeal. "We're confident the US will remain among the 39 countries where the merger can close.

"We look forward to demonstrating the strength of our case in court - again."

Read this next