Microsoft moves “another step closer to the finish line” as FTC loses final appeal to prevent the Activision Blizzard acquisition

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has lost its final appeal protesting Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, enabling the takeover to proceed as planned.

Microsoft’s intended acquisition of Activision Blizzard has faced extensive scrutiny from governments worldwide. Despite Microsoft winning the battle with the FTC as a federal judge ruled in favor of the acquisition, the FTC filed a notice of appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, hoping to reverse the decision.

However, the Ninth Circuit has denied the motion of injunctive relief, granting Microsoft the freedom to complete the $69bn acquisition.

“We appreciate the Ninth Circuit’s swift response denying the FTC’s motion to further delay the deal,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft’s vice chair and president, in an interview with The Verge. “This brings us another step closer to the finish line in this marathon of global regulatory reviews.”

While the FTC hurdle has been cleared, Microsoft still faces challenges in the UK, where the government’s Competition and Market Authority (CMA) blocked the merger, arguing that it would result in a gaming monopoly. Microsoft’s appeal against the CMA’s decision is currently in progress within the UK court system.

On a more positive note, Microsoft’s acquisition plans have been well received in other parts of the world. The Chinese government fully approved the deal, and the European Union (EU) chose to approve the acquisition with certain conditions.

In other news, Larry Hryb, also known as Major Nelson in the Xbox Live community, has announced his departure from Microsoft after 22 years with the company.