The court battle between Microsoft and the US Federal Trade Commission entered day two of a planned five-day hearing. As the FTC tries to convince a judge to place a preliminary injunction on Microsoft’s planned purchase of Activision Blizzard for $69 billion, it was revealed that Microsoft has serious plans to buy another publisher a few years ago.
IGN reports that during testimony, Microsoft Xbox head Phil Spencer confirmed that the company spent “quite a bit of time” on a deal to acquire the mobile gaming publisher Zynga. The idea was that Microsoft wanted to secure a major player in the mobile game space.
In the end, Microsoft decided to not pursue that purchase. Instead, Take-Two Interactive acquired Zynga for $12.7 billion in early 2022. Spencer said the company moved its interest towards purchasing Activision Blizzard, which includes King, the creator of the hit Candy Crush mobile games, among others. He stated:
I spent time with Amy Hood, the CFO of [Microsoft], to look at the mobile opportunities that were in the market, and Activision was the biggest publisher of mobile content. And it’s a partner we know well, given a long history of working together, so we both had comfort with the studios and the teams. But most important was their portfolio and engagement they had on mobile.
King was acquired by Activision Blizzard in 2016. The company’s site says as of the first quarter of 2022, its games have a total of 250 million monthly active users.
The court case will continue on Monday and is scheduled to end on June 29. The FTC is asking the judge to place a preliminary injunction on Microsoft’s plans to buy Activision Blizzard, before the previously agreed-upon deadline of July 18. Microsoft has said if such an injunction is granted, it could be forced to abandon the deal.