The US Federal Trade Commission may be resigned to the fact that its attempts to block Microsoft’s planned $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard are not going to be successful. Today, the FTC said it will put its planned in-house trial against the deal on hold.
The agency’s website (via Bloomberg) posted the filing of the FTC’s actions, stating simply that “this matter in its entirety be and it hereby is withdrawn from adjudication, and that all proceedings before the Administrative Law Judge be and they hereby are stayed.”
The FTC tried to get a federal judge to put a preliminary injunction on Microsoft earlier this month to stop it from closing the deal, but the judge denied the request. The FTC tried to get it overturned by an appeals court, but they refused.
With those court decisions, and the FTC’s own move to pause its in-house trial, Bloomberg says Microsoft can ask the FTC to accept a settlement deal, or just ask them to withdraw their fight against the purchase of Activision Blizzard.
Either way, it appears that the only thing standing in the way of Microsoft’s closing the deal is the UK Competition and Markets Authority. The regulator blocked the deal in late April, but after the FTC lost its preliminary injunction case, Microsoft and the CMA agreed to pause their own legal battle while Microsoft comes up with a new plan.
In a Sky News interview today, Sarah Cardell, the chief executive at the Competition and Markets Authority, stated that Microsoft has yet to send the group a new proposal to acquire Activision Blizzard. She added, “If they do that we will consider those restructured proposals carefully but anything that they put forward to us will need to fully and comprehensively resolve our concerns.”
Microsoft and Activision Blizzard extended the deal deadline earlier this week to October 18, in the hopes that they can convince the CMA to change their minds.