Lina Khan-Led US FTC to Probe $69 bn Microsoft-Activision Deal

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The media reported that the media reported that the US competition watchdog will review Microsoft’s proposed $68.7 billion acquisition of Call of Duty (CoD) maker gaming company Activision Blizzard.

Lina Khan-led Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will scrutinize whether Satya Nadella-run tech giant’s move to expand its video game business will “substantially lessen competition”, The Wall Street Journal reported late on Tuesday, citing sources.

All proposed mergers of substantial size must be submitted for government antitrust review, which is conducted by either the FTC or the Justice Department, – the report mentioned.

Khan is known as an antitrust advocate and has earlier taken on Big Tech like launching a probe last year into Amazon’s $8.45 billion acquisition of movie and TV studio giant MGM.

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Microsoft’s acquisition of video game maker Activision Blizzard is yet another play by the tech giant to secure its stake in the nascent Metaverse and bring more intellectual property (IP) under the Xbox and Game Pass umbrella.

Microsoft will become the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue when the transaction closes, behind Tencent and Sony.

Following on the 2014 acquisitions of Mojang (makers of Minecraft) and 2021 acquisition of ZeniMax Media/Bethesda (makers of Doom, Elder Scrolls, and Fallout), Activision Blizzard brings IP like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush to Microsoft’s portfolio.

Japanese giant Sony is also acquiring Bungie, the developer of Destiny and the original creator of the hugely popular Halo franchise, for $3.6 billion.

Halo was one of Microsoft Xbox’s flagship franchises but after a few sequels, Bungie was spun out into an independent company.

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