US competition watchdog seeks to stop Microsoft-Activision mega gaming deal

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US filed a complaint on Thursday (December 8) that was aimed at blocking Microsoft’s USD 69 billion bid to buy ‘Call of Duty’ maker gaming giant Activision. This is the biggest ever deal in the gaming industy. The FTC has filed the complaint over concerns that the deal would thwart competition.

Microsoft, the maker of gaming console Xbox had announced in January 2022 that it was buying Activision for USD 68.7 billion.

Microsoft President Brad Smith said they would fight the FTC. “While we believed in giving peace a chance, we have complete confidence in our case and welcome the opportunity to present our case in court,” he said.

FTC said that Microsoft has a record of buying major gaming content and then using it to suppress competition.

“Microsoft has already shown that it can and will withhold content from its gaming rivals,” said Holly Vedova, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition. “Today we seek to stop Microsoft from gaining control over a leading independent game studio and using it to harm competition in multiple dynamic and fast-growing gaming markets.”

Shares in Microsoft and Activision both fell on news of the FTC complaint. Shares in Activision were down 2.3%, or $1.78 to $74.16, while Microsoft was down from earlier highs but still up 1% for the day to $246.78.

(With inputs from agencies)

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