The Federal Trade Commission is preparing a potential legal challenge to Microsoft’s plan to buy Activision for $68.7 billion, and it could file the lawsuit by next month, according to Politico. The outlet’s sources say both CEOs — Satya Nadella and Bobby Kotick — have already been deposed, and yet the FTC remains skeptical.
The report notes that there are still a few steps to go before the regulator is ready to act, including a vote from its commissioners. If it does end up happening, it’d mean the deal would face antitrust challenges in the US, UK and the EU. This is despite Microsoft’s repeated attempts to assure regulators that its purchase of Activision — the company in charge of Candy Crush, Call of Duty, and all of Blizzard — wouldn’t hurt competition in the gaming space.
The company has basically been in an all-out PR battle with its competitor, Sony (which may be getting nervous now that major game makers like Obsidian, Mojang, and Bethesda are all now Xbox Game Studios). A major sticking point for the PlayStation company has been that the deal would give Microsoft power over Call of Duty
The fight between the two companies has gotten ugly at times. Microsoft accused Sony of paying developers to keep their content off of its Game Pass service, and just this week Sony argued that Microsoft’s master plan was getting everybody to move over to Xbox before jacking up prices. Both companies will likely reiterate these arguments — and more — to whichever regulators come knocking. And at the moment, it feels like that list is only getting bigger.