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Microsoft-Activision Deal to Be Reviewed by Federal Commerce Fee

Microsoft-Activision Deal to Be Reviewed by Federal Commerce Fee

WASHINGTON—

Microsoft Corp.’s

MSFT -1.60%

proposed acquisition of

Activision Blizzard Inc.

ATVI 0.16%

will probably be reviewed within the U.S. by the Federal Commerce Fee, an individual accustomed to the matter mentioned, putting the destiny of the roughly $75 billion deal within the palms of an company whose chief has questioned acquisitions by highly effective know-how corporations.

The FTC, led by Chairwoman

Lina Khan,

will scrutinize whether or not the tech big’s transfer to broaden its videogame enterprise will considerably reduce competitors, this individual mentioned. All proposed mergers of considerable dimension should be submitted for presidency antitrust evaluation, which is performed by both the FTC or the Justice Division. Each companies have intently scrutinized tech offers previously. Bloomberg earlier reported on the FTC’s evaluation.

A Microsoft consultant declined to remark. Activision didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. The businesses have beforehand focused 2023 for closing the transaction.

Since assuming workplace final summer season, Ms. Khan has taken a number of steps to extend scrutiny of offers and reorient the company’s enforcement posture.

“Whereas the present merger increase has delivered huge charges for funding banks, proof means that many People traditionally have misplaced out, with diminished alternative, increased costs, decrease wages, and lagging innovation,” Ms. Khan mentioned on Jan. 18, saying a broad reconsideration of U.S. coverage towards mergers.

The strikes have elevated uncertainty about which mergers will win approval and the way lengthy these approvals will take.

On the identical time, FTC officers say they’re inundated with proposed mergers, taxing the company’s employees. The FTC has individually been reviewing

Amazon.com Inc.’s

proposed acquisition of Hollywood studio MGM since final summer season.

Each the Amazon and Microsoft offers may take a look at whether or not Ms. Khan can translate her requires harder antitrust enforcement as a non-public citizen into outcomes as a coverage maker. Ms. Khan constructed her repute as a critic of what she mentioned was an excessively permissive stance towards mergers in earlier administrations, significantly within the know-how sector.

Antitrust students say courts have been skeptical of challenges to massive mergers in recent times.

Ms. Khan has signaled she received’t be shy about taking circumstances to courtroom. “You lose all of the photographs you don’t take,” she mentioned in a Jan. 19 look on CNBC.

Ms. Wu, a goal of the GamerGate scandal, says Activision Blizzard’s CEO led a tradition of non-accountability, throughout an interview at WSJ’s Ladies In: The Tech Trade occasion. (Video from 1/18/22)

Write to Ryan Tracy at ryan.tracy@wsj.com and Brent Kendall at brent.kendall@wsj.com

The Microsoft-Activision Blizzard Deal

Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Firm, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

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