The FTC may pause the Microsoft Activision Blizzard acquisition trial for settlement discussions.

The FTC may pause the Microsoft Activision Blizzard acquisition trial for settlement discussions.

FTC Takes a Break From Bickering with Microsoft over Activision Blizzard Deal

Microsoft Activision Blizzard Acquisition

The feud between the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Microsoft regarding the acquisition of Activision Blizzard may finally be taking a backseat as settlement talks zoom into view. This sudden twist comes as lawmakers across the board urge the FTC to lay off their opposition to the deal.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dealt a rough blow to the FTC in July when they denied the regulator’s attempt to block Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition. While the regulator still intends to take the matter to an in-house trial, the court’s decision was seen as a game-changer – one that practically sealed the deal for Microsoft.

However, amidst all the legal back-and-forth, the FTC has decided to hit the pause button on their administrative challenge, which was scheduled for an in-house trial in August. According to Bloomberg, regulatory filings suggest that this move opens the door for Microsoft and the FTC to engage in settlement talks. Although the agency is still fighting the federal court ruling, it’s clear that Microsoft might just come out on top without needing explicit approval from the FTC.

In light of these developments, it seems that the FTC is willing to play nice and negotiate terms with Microsoft instead of stubbornly opposing the $68.7 billion acquisition. It’s like they finally realized that embracing collaboration is way cooler than staying at odds.

If these settlement talks are indeed happening, they’re likely to wrap up fairly quickly. Microsoft missed its original deadline to close the deal on July 18, which prompted both parties to agree on a three-month extension. As part of this agreement, Activision Blizzard managed to snag an extra $500 million, raising the termination fee to $3.5 billion. And if things go south after September 15, Microsoft will owe Activision Blizzard a whopping $4.5 billion in breakup fees – more than the gaming company’s record-breaking profit of $3.16 billion in 2021. Talk about some serious dough!

While Microsoft and the FTC are trying to make peace, they still have the British Competition and Markets Authority bearing down on them. Having already appealed the UK’s rejection of the deal, Microsoft anxiously awaits the final decision this summer. Will they clinch the win or face another obstacle? Only time will tell.

In the meantime, let’s hope this brief intermission from the FTC’s objections leads to a happy ending for both Microsoft and Activision Blizzard. After all, a little compromise can go a long way in the magical world of gaming acquisitions.

Source: Bloomberg