FTC loses appeals court bid to temporarily block Microsoft-Activision deal

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft
In a victory for Microsoft, the U.S. Appeals Court for the Ninth Circuit late on Friday denied the Federal Trade Commission’s appeal of a judge’s decision that would have stopped the software maker from completing its $68.7 billion acquisition of video game publisher Activision Blizzard.

Microsoft is still working to resolve concerns about the transaction from the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority.

A federal judge in San Francisco, after five days of court hearings, ruled against the FTC on Tuesday, and the federal agency filed its appeal on Wednesday.

The FTC first sued to block the acquisition last December, then filed for an emergency injunction last month ahead of the deal’s July 18 deadline. The FTC has argued that the transaction was anti-competitive because Microsoft might make some of its games exclusive to its own game consoles or diminish the experience of Activision games on rival services should the deal close. Microsoft has said it would instead make the games more widely available.

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