Microsoft can cross off one hurdle on its way to finalizing a purchase of Activision Blizzard. The US Federal Trade Commission moved to block the $69 billion purchase, but it was struck down by The U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California on Tuesday.
In the ruling, District Court Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley cited in part Microsoft’s commitment to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for 10 years, on parity with Xbox, and that Microsoft inked an agreement with Nintendo to bring the game to Nintendo consoles. The judge found that “the FTC has not shown a likelihood it will prevail” on its claim that the merger “may substantially lessen competition.” “To the contrary, the record evidence points to more consumer access to Call of Duty and other Activision content.”
However, this isn’t the only hurdle that Microsoft has to clear to get the deal finalized. They still have to deal with the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) which blocked the deal on grounds that it is anti-competitive.
Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith had this to say in a statement:
“We’re grateful to the Court in San Francisco for this quick and thorough decision and hope other jurisdictions will continue working towards a timely resolution. As we’ve demonstrated consistently throughout this process, we are committed to working creatively and collaboratively to address regulatory concerns.”
Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard had this to say.
“Our merger will benefit consumers and workers. It will enable competition rather than allow entrenched market leaders to continue to dominate our rapidly growing industry. We’re optimistic that today’s ruling signals a path to full regulatory approval elsewhere around the globe, and we stand ready to work with U.K. regulators to address any remaining concerns so our merger can quickly close.”
This deal is about acquiring Activision Blizzard, but really Microsoft wants the Call of Duty franchise and the massive mobile gaming landscape that Activision Blizzard has created and cultivated. Mobile gaming is a big portion of the market and they want to tap into it. We’ll have to see if the deal goes through worldwide, but they’re all the way through the hurdle of getting it done in the US.
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