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FTC files to appeal Microsoft/Activision Blizzard merger

<i>Jae C. Hong/AP/FILE</i><br/>The Federal Trade Commission said July 12 it would appeal a decision from earlier this week by a district court judge allowing Microsoft to close its $69 billion Activision Blizzard merger.
Jae C. Hong/AP/FILE
The Federal Trade Commission said July 12 it would appeal a decision from earlier this week by a district court judge allowing Microsoft to close its $69 billion Activision Blizzard merger.

By Brian Fung, CNN

(CNN) — The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday filed its appeal of a federal judge’s decision earlier this week allowing Microsoft to close its $69 billion merger with Activision Blizzard.

The legal filing comes after the FTC’s failed effort to block the deal over allegations that the merger would harm competition by giving Microsoft (MSFT) exclusive control over major video game titles such as “Call of Duty.”

US District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley said Tuesday she will not block Microsoft from closing the deal as the FTC had asked.

The FTC had asked for a preliminary injunction while a separate legal challenge to the merger unfolds in the agency’s in-house administrative court.

Tuesday’s decision paved the way for Microsoft to potentially finalize the deal with Activision in a matter of days, ahead of a July 18 contractual deadline. Alternatively, the companies could mutually seek to extend that timeframe.

Consummating the deal would turn Microsoft into the third largest video game publisher in the world, after Tencent and Sony.

On Tuesday, Corley wrote in her opinion that the US government had “not shown it is likely to succeed on its assertion the combined firm will probably pull Call of Duty from Sony PlayStation, or that its ownership of Activision content will substantially lessen competition in the video game library subscription and cloud gaming markets.”

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