FTC appeals ruling that would have let Microsoft’s Activision takeover move forward

The Federal Trade Commission isn’t giving up on its attempt to halt Microsoft’s pending $68.7 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard. The agency said in a filing it’s appealing Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley’s denial of its request for a preliminary injunction to temporarily stop the deal from going through.

The FTC has sued to prevent the merger from happening over antitrust concerns. An administrative trial is set to start in August, but the companies have a merger deadline of July 18th. The agency was concerned Microsoft and Activision would close their deal by then despite a UK regulator blocking the deal in that country.

Bloomberg first reported that the agency was considering an appeal against Corley’s decision. The FTC told Engadget after Tuesday’s ruling that it would announce its “next step to continue our fight to preserve competition and protect consumers” in the following days.

Corley ruled that, unless the FTC obtains an emergency stay from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals by 11:59PM PT on July 14th, a temporary restraining order that’s currently preventing Microsoft and Activision from closing the deal will be dissolved. The restraining order was put in place until Corley made a decision on the preliminary injunction. 

Meanwhile, after Corley’s ruling, Microsoft, Activision Blizzard and the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority said they agreed to pause their legal battle and see if they could reach a compromise. The CMA later clarified that although “merging parties don’t have the opportunity to put forward new remedies once a final report has been issued, they can choose to restructure a deal.” It added that doing so could lead to a fresh merger investigation.

“The District Court’s ruling makes crystal clear that this acquisition is good for both competition and consumers,” Microsoft president and vice-chair Brad Smith said in a statement posted to Twitter. “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.”

“The facts haven’t changed. We’re confident the US will remain among the 39 countries where the merger can close,” Activision Blizzard said in a statement to Engadget. “We look forward to reinforcing the strength of our case in court, again.”

Update 7/12 9:10PM ET: Added Activision’s statement.

Update 7/12 10:19PM ET: Added Brad Smith’s statement.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/ftc-appeals-ruling-that-would-have-let-microsofts-activision-takeover-move-forward-231729137.html?src=rss