Microsoft announced its intent to acquire Activision back in January 2022, but so far it has only seen pushback from the EU, UK’s CMA, and the USA's FTC. These three regulatory authorities are investigating the effects this acquisition could have on the gaming industry and other players in it, and the FTC has also sued the tech giant in its bid to take over the Call of Duty developer. Now, it seems the possible acquisition will be delayed even further according to the FTC’s new schedule for the hearing of the case.
As reported by Gamesradar, the FTC published its scheduling order on January 10, 2023, which now extends the date for the hearings beyond June all the way up till August 2023. There are other key dates mentioned in this timeline of seven months which includes deadlines for the parties involved to submit documents and make their case.
The pre-trial hearing for the lawsuit concluded recently, and it looked like Microsoft wasn’t keen on a settlement. Although, it did retract its earlier statement calling the FTC’s lawsuit “unconstitutional”.
An acquisition of this magnitude was always going to be time-consuming, but Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said that he was confident that the deal will close by June 2023. That likely won’t be the case anymore after this revelation, and it might stretch beyond August based on the FTC’s ruling on the matter. Incidentally, the CMA’s investigation in this matter was also recently delayed by two months, and the UK watchdog’s report will now arrive on April 26.
Sony, one of Microsoft’s biggest rivals, has been the most vocal in its stance against this deal. SIE’s Jim Ryan also allegedly flew to Europe to convince the EU to block this deal, as the future of Call of Duty games on PlayStation was in doubt, despite Microsoft having offered to keep it on PlayStation for a decade.
Microsoft has some support from Chile, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil, who have approved this merger. The Communication Workers of America (CWA) has also extended its support for this as it might improve working conditions for Activision-Blizzard employees.
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