FTC stalling Microsoft's $69 billion Activision deal

Decision comes two months after British regulators attempted block

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed to stop Microsoft’s $69 billion purchase of video game maker Activision Blizzard late Monday, confirming earlier reports. 

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In response, Microsoft VP and President Brad Smith told FOX Business, "We welcome the opportunity to present our case in federal court."

Brad Smith speaking

 Brad Smith, President, Microsoft. ((Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images) / Getty Images)

"We believe accelerating the legal process in the U.S. will ultimately bring more choice and competition to the market," he finished. 

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Meanwhile, an FTC spokesperson told FOX Business "Microsoft and Activision Blizzard have represented in the past that they cannot close their deal due to antitrust reviews of the transaction in other jurisdictions."

"But Microsoft and Activision have not provided assurances that they will maintain that position," the spokesperson continued. " In light of that, and public reporting that Microsoft and Activision Blizzard are considering closing their deal imminently, we have filed a request for a temporary restraining order to prevent them from closing while review continues." 

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In April, British regulators at the Competition and Markets Authority attempted to block the purchase, saying "the only effective remedy to the substantial loss of competition is to prohibit the merger of what would be the largest deal in tech history." 

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Both Microsoft and Activision appealed the British regulator's decision, despite facing opposition to the all-cash deal from contemporaries like Sony and regulators in the U.S. and Europe who are concerned the consolidation would give Microsoft control of the cloud gaming industry and popular game franchises like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush.

In February, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick sounded off on regulators during an appearance on "The Claman Countdown."

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"I think what we’re experiencing right now are regulators who have very little experience with our industry," he told host Liz Claman. "There’s probably a lot of consolidation that could happen over time, but it’s an extremely fragmented industry, and today the dominant players are Japanese and Chinese companies."

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Cloud gaming enables the streaming of games to tablets, phones and other devices, freeing gamers from buying expensive consoles and gaming computers.

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