SAN FRANCISCO: A US federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked Microsoft from completing its $69 billion purchase of the gaming giant. Activision Blizzardand showed the court file.
Judge Edward Davila He said in a ruling that it was “essential to maintain the status quo” while the court considers a long-term purchase injunction as required by FTC regulators.
A hearing is scheduled for June 22 and June 23 in San Francisco federal court to hear evidence in this case, according to the ruling.
The ruling came a day after the Federal Trade Commission asked a federal court to block Microsoft from completing its massive purchase of Activision Blizzard as it considers regulatory action.
“The preliminary injunction is necessary … to prevent temporary harm,” the regulator said in the application while the FTC determines whether “the proposed acquisition violates US antitrust law.”
Tuesday’s ruling prevents Microsoft from moving forward with the deal before a court decides whether to issue a preliminary injunction sought by regulators.
In requesting the preliminary injunction in the Northern California District Court, the US government sought to prevent the companies from completing the transaction before the July 18 deadline.
A Federal Trade Commission hearing is scheduled for August to discuss the merits of the deal, and the restraining order will block the deal before that process can run its course.
A California judge will need to agree to stop the deal after hearing arguments from the Federal Trade Commission about why the acquisition was illegal and from Microsoft about why it should move forward.
“We welcome the opportunity to present our case in federal court,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said Monday.
He added, “We believe that accelerating the legal process in the United States will ultimately lead to more choice and competition in the market.”
Microsoft, the owner of Xbox, launched an offer to buy Activision Blizzard early last year, seeking to establish the third largest game company in the world in terms of revenue after the Chinese company Tencent and the Japanese company Sony, the PlayStation manufacturer.
While the European Union green-lighted the deal, Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) blocked it in April, arguing it would harm competition in cloud gaming.
The Federal Trade Commission sued in December to block the deal with Activision Blizzard, maker of the popular “Call of Duty” title, over concerns it would stifle competition.
led organizer Lina KhanAn antitrust academy that was an advocate for breaking up the biggest tech companies before President Joe Biden nominated her for the job in 2021.
Khan has accused Meta, Facebook’s parent company, of stifling competition by buying up startups, and the FTC has launched investigations into Amazon.
Meanwhile, the US Department of Justice has filed lawsuits arguing that Google has committed antitrust violations in Internet search as well as in advertising.


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