Microsoft’s $68.7bn acquisition of Activision Blizzard will be reviewed by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), an agency that has promised more aggressive policing of such deals (via Bloomberg).
The FTC will investigate if the deal will harm competition, rather than the Justice Department, claimed sources familiar with the matter.
FTC Chair Lina Khan has advocated for more aggressive policing of similar deals, particularly in the technology sector, as Khan has stated that companies can leverage their dominance to gain power in other markets.
Khan has blocked two such deals as FTC Chair: Nvidia Corps’ attempted acquisition of Arm Ltd and Lockheed Martin’s attempt to buy Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc.
This investigation will look into the combination of Activision Blizzard’s gaming portfolio with Microsoft’s consoles and hardware systems. The FTC is likely to look into how the acquisition could harm Microsoft’s rivals, by limiting their access to Activision Blizzard’s biggest titles.
Microsoft announced that it had reached a deal to acquire Activision Blizzard in January this year. As part of the deal Microsoft will control such studios as Blizzard, Infinity Ward, Treyarch, Sledgehammer Games, Toys For Bob, Raven Software, Beenox, High Moon Studios, Digital Legends, Radical Entertainment, Demonware, as well as mobile behemoth King, Major League Gaming, bought by Activision Blizzard in 2016, is also part of the deal.