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FTC to Continue Efforts to Block Microsoft’s Acquisition of Activision Blizzard King

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US has announced that it will continue its internal efforts to block Microsoft's $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard King. Despite failing to secure a preliminary injunction or emergency stay from the courts, the FTC is determined to conduct a comprehensive investigation of the merger to protect the public's best interests.

Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard King has undergone regulatory scrutiny from market authorities in the EU, UK, and US. The original deadline to close the acquisition was October 18 but has been extended. While over 40 authorities globally have approved the deal, the UK, US, and EU commissions have expressed concerns about the potential merger.

The FTC filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the deal's closing and an evidentiary hearing was held, where Xbox and Microsoft leadership provided testimony. However, the FTC's request for a preliminary injunction was declined by Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley. Microsoft subsequently filed a motion for the FTC to withdraw from adjudication, which was granted. Despite this, the FTC has now ordered a new evidentiary hearing to occur after the United States Court of Appeals issues an opinion on the FTC's appeal.

The Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK has provisionally approved the acquisition due to Microsoft's assurance to partially divest its cloud streaming rights to Activision's content catalog. A final ruling from the CMA is expected by the new October 18 deadline.

Despite the FTC's efforts, Microsoft and Activision can proceed with the acquisition as long as no emergency injunction is issued by the court before the deadline.