A federal judge on Tuesday ruled against the Federal Trade Commission’s attempt to delay Microsoft’s $70 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, setting the stage for the tech giant and the video game publisher to merge as soon as this month.
In a 53-page decision, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley of U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California said the F.T.C. had failed to show it was likely to prove that the merger was likely to result in a substantial reduction in competition that would harm consumers.
She denied the F.T.C.’s request for a preliminary injunction, which would have delayed the deal’s closing until after the agency could fight it in an internal court.
The ruling is a significant blow to the F.T.C.’s efforts to police blockbuster tech mergers more aggressively. That strategy is spearheaded by the agency’s chair, Lina Khan, who has argued that Big Tech’s vast influence over commerce and communications has led to anticompetitive behavior. The F.T.C. has sued Microsoft, Meta and Amazon, but it walked away from one of its cases against Meta and has had little to show for its efforts so far.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.