Nov 23 (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Trade Commission
(FTC) is likely to file an antitrust lawsuit to block Microsoft
Corp's $69 billion takeover bid for video game
publisher Activision Blizzard Inc, Politico reported on
Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.
A lawsuit challenging the deal is not guaranteed, and the
FTC's four commissioners have yet to vote out a complaint or
meet with lawyers for the companies, the report said, adding
that the FTC staff reviewing the deal are skeptical of the
The FTC did not immediately respond to requests for
comment from Reuters.
"We are committed to continuing to work cooperatively with
regulators around the globe to allow the transaction to proceed,
but won't hesitate to fight to defend the transaction if
required," an Activision Blizzard spokesperson said. Any
suggestion that the transaction could lead to anticompetitive
effects is "completely absurd," the spokesperson added.
Shares of Activision fell about 2% in extended trading after
closing 1% higher.
Microsoft, maker of the Xbox game console, announced in
January the deal to buy Activision, the maker of "Call of Duty"
and "Candy Crush" games, in the biggest gaming industry deal in
history as global technology giants staked their claims to a
Microsoft is betting on the acquisition to help it
compete better with videogame leaders Tencent and Sony
The deal is also facing scrutiny outside the U.S. The
EU opened a full-scale investigation earlier this month. The
EU competition enforcer said it would decide by March 23, 2023,
whether to clear or block the deal.
Britain's antitrust watchdog in September said it would
launch a full-scale probe.
The acquisition could damage the industry if Microsoft
refused to give rivals access to Activision's best-selling
games, Britain's antitrust regulator has said.
The deal has drawn criticism from Sony, maker of the
Playstation console, citing Microsoft's control of games like
"Call of Duty."
"Sony, as the industry leader, says it is worried about
'Call of Duty,' but we've said we are committed to making the
same game available on the same day on both Xbox and
Microsoft President and Vice Chair Brad Smith
A spokesperson for Microsoft said: "We are prepared to
address the concerns of regulators, including the FTC, and Sony
to ensure the deal closes with confidence. Well still trail
Sony and Tencent in the market after the deal closes, and
together Activision and Xbox will benefit gamers and developers
and make the industry more competitive."
(Reporting by Tiyashi Dattaa and Mrinmay Dey in Bengaluru;
Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Leslie Adler)