The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) may file an antitrust lawsuit block Microsoft’s $69 billion (roughly Rs 5,635,000 crore) acquisition of video game publisher Activision Blizzard, Politico reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

A lawsuit challenging the deal is unlikely, and the four FTC commissioners have yet vote to dismiss the complaint or meet with the companies’ lawyers, the report said, adding that FTC staff reviewing the deal were skeptical of the companies’ arguments.

The FTC did not immediately respond a Reuters request for comment.

“We are committed continuing to work with global regulators to allow the transaction to proceed, but we will not hesitate to fight to defend the transaction if required,” an Activision Blizzard spokesman said. Suggestions that the deal could have anti-competitive effects are “completely absurd”.

Activision shares were down about 2 percent in after-hours trading after closing up 1 percent.

Xbox game console maker Microsoft announced a deal in January buy Activision Blizzard, maker of Call of Duty and Candy Crush games, the largest deal in the gaming industry’s history, with global tech giants keen on a virtual future. made a request.

Microsoft is betting on the acquisition help it better compete with video game leaders Tencent and Sony.

The deal also faces scrutiny outside the United States. The EU launched a full-scale investigation earlier this month. The EU competition enforcer said it would have until March 23, 2023 decide whether to approve or block the deal.

Britain’s antitrust watchdog said in September it would launch a full investigation.

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Britain’s antitrust watchdog said the acquisition could damage the industry if Microsoft denies rivals access Activision’s best-selling games.

The deal drew criticism from Playstation console maker Sony, citing Microsoft’s control over games such as Call of Duty.

“Sony, as an industry leader, has said it has concerns about Call of Duty, but we’ve said we’re committed making the same game available on Xbox and PlayStation on the same day,” Microsoft president and vice chairman Brad Smith said. .

A Microsoft spokesperson said: “We are ready address the concerns of regulators, including the FTC, and Sony to ensure the transaction closes with confidence. After the transaction closes, we will remain behind Sony and Tencent in the market, and with Activision. Together Xbox will benefit gamers and developers and make the industry more competitive.”

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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