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Federal Court Grants Restraining Order Halting Microsoft’s Acquisition of Activision Temporarily

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Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard

A federal court has issued a restraining order that prevents Microsoft from proceeding with its acquisition of Activision-Blizzard until a preliminary injunction requested by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can be considered. While the FTC aims to halt Microsoft's finalization of the deal before the July 18 deadline, Microsoft has expressed that the restraining order is actually beneficial as it expedites the legal process.

The restraining order stipulates that Microsoft cannot complete its acquisition of Activision until after “11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on the fifth business day after the Court rules on the FTC's request for a preliminary injunction.” If the preliminary injunction is also granted at that time, it means that the FTC will have the opportunity to present its case in court before Microsoft can finalize the deal.

The current court order has established a number of important dates: Microsoft and Activision must respond to the injunction by June 16th, the FTC is required to reply to this response by June 20th, and a hearing on the preliminary injunction has been scheduled for June 22nd and 23rd. With the restraining order in effect, it is unlikely that Microsoft will be able to complete the acquisition in June.

Despite the injunction, Microsoft remains unfazed, with company president Brad Smith stating,

“We welcome the opportunity to present our case in federal court. We believe accelerating the legal process in the U.S. will ultimately bring more choice and competition to the market.”

UK Oppose Microsoft and Activision

Meanwhile, the merger has already faced opposition from the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which has blocked the deal. Both Microsoft and Activision are appealing the decision. On a positive note, other regulatory bodies, including the European Union, have approved the acquisition.

According to the current agreement, Microsoft must finalize the acquisition by July 18 to avoid paying Activision Blizzard a hefty $3 billion breakup fee.

What’s your take? What do you think about the federal court temporarily halting Microsoft's acquisition of Activision? Let us know on our socials here or in the comments below. 

Evans I. Karanja is a freelance writer who loves to write about anything technology. He is always on the lookout for interesting topics, and enjoys writing about video games, cryptocurrency and blockchain and more. When not writing, he can be found playing video games or watching F1.