Microsoft's Activision Blizzard acquisition will reportedly face antitrust lawsuit from FTC

Modern Warfare 2 screenshot
(Image credit: Activision)

The Federal Trade Commission is reportedly likely to file a lawsuit to stop Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

That's according to a new report from Politico (opens in new tab), published yesterday on November 23, and citing three people familiar with the matter. It seems the US government agency is poised to file an antitrust lawsuit in an attempt to entirely block the proposed acquisition from Microsoft.

As Politico notes, provided the lawsuit is actually filed by the FTC, it would be the single biggest lawsuit under Chair Lina Khan to date. Despite the report though, the FTC's four leading commissioners are yet to vote out a complaint, or even meet with lawyers for Microsoft or Activision Blizzard, Politico reports.

Much of the "heavy lifting is completed," according to Politico, which notes the FTC has already received depositions from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and Activision Blizzard president Bobby Kotick. Nadella brushed off monopoly concerns over the acquisition earlier this year, and Kotick recently told Activision Blizzard staff he was confident the deal would close by June 2023

The potential antitrust lawsuit reportedly stems from FTC workers reviewing the deal being sceptical of both Microsoft and Activision Blizzard's arguments in favor of the acquisition. Earlier this year, Microsoft defended the acquisition by claiming Activision Blizzard doesn't make "must have" games, an argument which the FTC is apparently now sceptical of.

Microsoft's proposed acquisition faces similar scrutiny in Europe, as Kotick recently confirmed the European Union had launched an advanced probe into the acquisition, effectively taking their investigation to the next stage. As for Sony, their latest argument against the acquisition stems from Battlefield being unable to rival Call of Duty due to the disparity in sales between the two franchises.

Microsoft recently revealed they proposed a 10-year plan to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation consoles to Sony, who apparently weren't a fan of the deal. 

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.