FTC set to review Microsoft-Activision Blizzard deal

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is set to review Microsoft’s US$68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

According to Bloomberg, the FTC has been handed the antitrust review of the deal. The decision is noteworthy due to the FTC’s recent more aggressive stance towards mega mergers in the media and tech sectors under chair Lina Khan. 

The report notes that it was initially thought that the Justice Department would oversee the review.

Khan has historically been an advocate for a more forceful approach to merger reviews, and has opposed mergers that have the potential to create monopolies. Notably, Khan’s FTC has sued to block Nvidia’s proposed purchase of chipmaker Arm.

Microsoft had previously said that it expects the deal to close in mid-2023, with this  deal representing the tech giant’s largest ever acquisition.

The company will hope that the FTC treats the deal more as an entertainment acquisition than a tech merger, with the agency previously taking a softer attitude towards mergers in the former sector.

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