A federal judge on Tuesday ruled against the Federal Trade Commission’s attempt to delay Microsoft’s $70 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, paving the way for the merger of the tech giant and video game publisher as soon as this month.
On 53 pages In the decision, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley of the US District Court for the Northern District of California said the FTC had failed to demonstrate that a merger was likely to lead to a significant reduction in competition that would harm consumers..
It denied the FTC’s request for a preliminary injunction, which would have delayed closing the deal until after the agency could fight it in domestic court.
The ruling is a major blow to the FTC’s efforts to police massive technology mergers more vigorously. This strategy is being spearheaded by Lina Khan, the agency’s president, who has argued that Big Tech’s massive influence on commerce and communications has led to anticompetitive behaviour. The FTC has sued Microsoft, Meta, and Amazon, but has retracted one of its cases against Meta and hasn’t had much to show for its efforts so far.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.