Microsoft Corp is set to defend its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard Inc, the maker of « Call of Duty, » in a private antitrust lawsuit in San Francisco federal court. The lawsuit was brought by video gamers who claim that the deal will harm industry competition and should be stopped. The hearing will weigh a request for a preliminary injunction barring the proposed acquisition. Microsoft has defended the tie-up as benefiting gamers, and its lawyers have asked the judge to deny blocking the acquisition. The deal, first announced in January 2022, separately faces intense regulatory scrutiny by U.S., European Union, UK and other competition law enforcers.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers have urged the judge to block the deal to allow a trial on the merits of the acquisition to take place. They argue that « the loss of competition cannot be reclaimed » and that « unwinding the merger after consummation is highly problematic and disfavored, making divestiture post-consummation significantly more difficult. » Microsoft’s lawyers, on the other hand, have argued that the plaintiffs’ request is unprecedented and that they have not cited a single case where a court has enjoined a merger based on alleged harms claimed by a few individual consumers.
The acquisition of Activision Blizzard Inc would mark the largest-ever in gaming if it is completed. Microsoft has faced intense regulatory scrutiny over the deal, with Britain’s antitrust regulator saying in April that it would block the acquisition after the company failed to assuage competition concerns. The deal separately faces intense regulatory scrutiny by U.S., European Union, UK and other competition law enforcers.
Keywords: Microsoft, Activision Blizzard, antitrust lawsuit, acquisition, competition, gamers, regulatory scrutiny.
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