Microsoft is battling the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after the regulator brought an action against the company to stop its $69bn acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Rival Sony has also been a vocal critic of the potential merger. A new report suggests the FTC and Sony are attempting to influence regulatory investigations in other regions to thwart the deal.
According to Bloomberg, the FTC is seeking to do more than just prevent the Microsoft and Activision Blizzard merger. Sources say that the regulator was speaking to the European Commission before filing the lawsuit and was seeking to dissuade the EU regulator from approving the deal.
Microsoft is willing to make concessions that reportedly would result in the EC giving the merger a green light. It seems the FTC has been trying to plant seeds in Europe that would lead to the deal being blocked.
Speaking to Bloomberg, former Justice Department No. 2 antitrust official Barry Nigro says the FTC worked to “get out in front of the Europeans in an effort to shape the narrative.”
Sony is also – more aggressively – lobbying the European Commission in an effort to stop Microsoft’s acquisition. Reuters reports that Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan has personally met with EC head Margrethe Vestager this week.
As I reported recently, the EU is considering warning Microsoft over the deal. However, it is also believed that if the company defeats the FTC in US courts that the EC will approve the deal. While it seems on the surface Microsoft is losing the situation, the FTC case is rather flimsy because it relies on proving Microsoft gains an unfair advantage by purchasing Activision Blizzard.
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