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Supreme Court rejects bid to block Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal

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The Supreme Court has rejected an 11-hour bid to stop Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, maker of hit games like Call of Duty, Candy Crush and World of Warcraft, dropping what appears to be the final legal challenge that stands in the way of closing the deal.

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan on Tuesday denied a group of players’ request for an emergency order to stop the merger. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday denied a Federal Trade Commission request to halt the merger, after a federal district court judge on July 11 denied the FTC’s request to block the acquisition from Activision Blizzard by Microsoft. Kagan, who hears emergency motions in the Ninth Circuit Supreme Court, offered no explanation for his motion denied decision.

On Monday, the gaming group asked the Supreme Court to block the deal, saying Microsoft’s resulting power in the gaming industry would harm consumers. “A merger between Microsoft and Activision would be one of the biggest, if not the biggest technology merger in history, at a time when concentration among technology companies is already threatening the competitive balance of our economies and even our systems. policies,” said lawyer Joseph Alioto. Joseph Alioto representing the group, writing in their petition to the Supreme Court.

Microsoft on Sunday announced a binding agreement with Sony that will keep Activision’s Call of Duty on PlayStation platforms for 10 years after Microsoft acquires the games company. In her July 11 ruling denying the FTC’s motion to suspend the deal, District Court Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley cited in part Microsoft’s commitment to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for 10 years, tied with Xbox, and that Microsoft has signed a deal with Nintendo to bring the game to Nintendo Switch. She wrote that the judge concluded that “the FTC did not seem likely to prevail” over its assertion that a merger “could significantly lessen competition.” On the contrary, the standard guide points to better consumer access to Call of Duty and other Activision content.

Microsoft first announced its plan to acquire Activision Blizzard in January 2022.

The deal has also met with opposition in the UK, where the country’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) decided last year to halt the Microsoft-Activision merger on the grounds that it was anti-competitive. . Last week, Microsoft and the CMA said it was stop their legal battle On the deal later, however, the CMA said any changes to Microsoft’s deal for Activision Blizzard could lead to a new investigation.

Microsoft and Activision Blizzard are unlikely to complete the deal before the original July 18, 2023 deadline for the merger deal as they seek final regulatory approval in the UK, Bloomberg mentioned Citing unnamed sources.

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