In a significant development for Microsoft's Activision Blizzard acquisition, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has suspended its administrative challenge that sought to block the $68.7 billion deal. The challenge was filed last December and was set to be heard before an FTC administrative judge on August 2nd.
The FTC had taken a two-front approach against the deal, launching an in-house case and seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. These legal actions would have stalled Microsoft from finalizing the deal while the FTC's administrative processes continued.
However, a US federal judge denied the injunction request earlier this month, and an appeals court also declined to put an emergency hold on the deal. The FTC, however, is still pursuing an appeal against the denial of the preliminary injunction.
Meanwhile, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard have not yet concluded their acquisition process. They recently extended their mutual deadline until October 18th. Despite the withdrawal of the in-house case, the FTC could potentially re-file this administrative challenge. Simultaneously, Microsoft continues to negotiate with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
Despite these ongoing regulatory challenges, there are signs of optimism. Xbox head Phil Spencer recently expressed optimism to employees, stating that the companies "remain optimistic that we will get our acquisition over the finish line.”