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Possible Results Of FTC's Legal Attempts To Halt The Microsoft-Activision Deal

Possible Results Of FTC's Legal Attempts To Halt The Microsoft-Activision Deal
The $69 billion acquisition by Microsoft of gaming behemoth Activision ATVI.O is expected to result in two court battles with US antitrust officials in the coming weeks.
The purchase deal has a termination date of July 18, but such dates can be extended and sometimes are, so Microsoft has pushed for a decision as soon as possible. The termination date was twice extended by the corporations after AT&T acquired DirecTV in 2015.
The first battle will take place from June 22 through June 29 in federal court in California. The second, assuming it proceeds, starts on August 2 and is in front of an administrative law judge for the Federal Trade Commission.
The following four outcomes of the California hearing are possible:
* The companies could close down if Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley grants the preliminary injunction.
* Most losing corporations in the past have abandoned the planned deal at this time. The corporations extend the contract date past July 18 in case the judge grants the preliminary injunction, and they then take their case before an FTC administrative law judge in August.
* The FTC could decide to give up the fight if Corley declines to grant the preliminary injunction. The most recent instance of this was when VR content producer Within Unlimited was purchased by Meta Platforms for META.O. The FTC abandoned its internal legal appeal after losing in federal court.
* Even if the judge rejects the preliminary injunction, the agency will continue to battle. A federal appeals court may hear an appeal of it. In any case, the FTC's administrative law judge will hear arguments over the deal in August.
Here are the possible results if the case is heard by FTC judge Michael Chappell as scheduled in August:
* If Microsoft prevails, the FTC staff may request that the commissioners who voted to bring the case, as well as Chair Lina Khan, reverse the decision. A federal appeals court would be the next stop after that. An appeals court is hearing the matter after Khan and commissioners overruled Chappell's decision to decide against the agency in Illumina's acquisition of Grail.
* If the FTC prevails, the businesses may also request that the commission reverse its ruling and, if necessary, take the matter before an appeals court.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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