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Microsoft, Activision Deal Under Threat

Microsoft Corp.’s proposed A$105 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard will be scrutinised by the Federal Trade Commission, an early hurdle that might prove harder than expected to clear.

Chairwoman Lina Khan has been critical of large-scale tech merger in the past, and is unlikely to brush over this one. The investigation will delve into whether this acquisition will substantially lessen competition in the gaming sector.

Activision Blizzard’s current contractual deal, which means that flagship franchise Call Of Duty will remain on Sony’s competing PlayStation console for the near future, will bode well for Microsoft’s overall argument.

“While the current merger boom has delivered massive fees for investment banks, evidence suggests that many Americans historically have lost out, with diminished opportunity, higher prices, lower wages, and lagging innovation,” Khan said in mid-January, signalling the FTC will undertake a “broad reconsideration” of merger policy.

It’s likely to take a while, too. The proposed Amazon takeover of MGM, announced last May, is still being scrutinised by the FTC.

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