The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has finally approved Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. According to the latest report, another member of the review board agreed to the deal.
A Democratic commissioner recently sided with Microsoft in a $68.7 billion merger, according to the New York Post. Overall, the deal is being reviewed by a four-member panel: sole Republican commissioner Christine Wilson and three Democratic commissioners, Rebecca Slaughter, Alvaro Bedoya and FTC Chair Lina Khan. The latter takes a tougher approach to such mergers and openly opposes the market dominance of big tech companies.
Wilson was in favor of the merger. And now Slaughter, who was FTC Chairman before Khan, has also joined the camp, sources told the New York Post. This means the Commission will have a 2-2 tie in any vote on the proposed acquisition.
According to sources speaking to the matter, such an outcome would put Khan’s authority over the agency into question. “Lina probably won’t put everything in place for that to happen, so instead of having that vote, she’ll put forward a proposal to approve the deal,” former FTC chairman William Kovacic said.
He also put the chance of the deal being passed at 70%. This will require some remedy from Microsoft, which may help it get support from regulators. According to Reuters, these concessions could include a 10-year licensing deal with Sony to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation.
“As we’ve said before, we stand ready to address concerns raised by regulators, including the FTC and Sony, to ensure the agreement is concluded satisfactorily,” a Microsoft spokesperson said. .
The FTC last month considered filing an antitrust lawsuit to block the merger, which will recommend the deal by mid-December. But taking all factors into account, the Commission is looking at it again. seriously consider the acquisition.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is still under heavy regulatory pressure in Europe and the US. The company is ready to offer European Commission concessions to complete the $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. According to Reuters, Microsoft is likely to roll out remedies to EU antitrust regulators in the coming weeks. The European Commission is expected to issue a statement of objection detailing competition concerns over the deal by January 2023. So Microsoft wants to make concessions before that date.