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FTC will try to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard

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FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan testifies during the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce hearing on the “FY2024 Federal Trade Commission Budget,” in Rayburn Building on Tuesday, April 18, 2023.

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The Federal Trade Commission is set to file for an injunction on Monday seeking to block Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, a person familiar with the matter told CNBC.

By filing for an injunction, the FTC is seeking to stop the acquisition from going through before the deal’s July 18 deadline.

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The FTC had already sued to block the $68.7 billion acquisition, choosing to bring the case before its internal administrative law judge. Through that trial-like process, the ALJ would make an initial decision that could be appealed to the full commission for a vote. After that, Microsoft could appeal to a federal court should the decision not go its way. The case is set to go before the ALJ in August.

An appeal of the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority’s decision to block the merger is also scheduled to take place this summer shortly after the acquisition deadline.

“We welcome the opportunity to present our case in federal court,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said. “We believe accelerating the legal process in the U.S will ultimately bring more choice and competition to the market.”

Shares of Microsoft and Activision were roughly flat Monday afternoon.

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