Activision Blizzard Executive Vice President for Corporate Affairs, Lulu Cheng Meservey, tweeted that the company “will not hesitate to fight to defend” Microsoft’s takeover of the publisher for $68.7bn (£57bn). The comment came after reports began circulating that the US Federal Trade Commission may take legal action against Microsoft over the deal. Anonymous sources claiming to be familiar with the matter also suggested an FTC lawsuit could begin as early as December.
“Seeing a lot of speculation about Microsoft acquiring Activision Blizzard,” Cheng Meservey said. “Any suggestion that the transaction might have anti-competitive effects is absurd. This merger will benefit gamers and the American gaming industry, especially as we face increased competition from overseas. This could be a reference to large European and Chinese companies such as Embracer Group and Tencent investing in game studios and related intellectual property. Embracer bought the rights to The Lord of the Rings earlier this year for an initial cost of SEK6bn (£476m), while Tencent recently invested 300m euros (£258m) in the company of the founding family of Ubisoft, the Guillemots.
“We are committed to continuing to work cooperatively with regulators around the world to allow the transaction to proceed,” Cheng Meservey continued, “but will not hesitate to fight to defend the transaction if necessary.” While the executive vice president didn’t elaborate on what that might mean, it’s clear that senior Activision Blizzard officials are committed to seeing the deal through, even if it means a direct legal challenge from the US government’s competition watchdog.
Microsoft’s takeover of Activision Blizzard is still under investigation by the UK Competition and Markets Authority and the European Commission, prior to any approval. Both agencies expressed concern that the proposed deal could affect competition within the industry and have ripple effects on consumers. Part of this stems from speculation about the future of current cross-platform series such as Call Of Duty, which Microsoft has challenged.
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