Activision Blizzard executive vice president of corporate affairs Lulu Cheng Meservey has tweeted that the company “will not hesitate to fight to defend” Microsoft’s $68.7bn (£57bn) buyout from the publisher. The comment came after reports circulated that the US Federal Trade Commission could file a lawsuit against Microsoft over the deal. Anonymous sources claiming to be close to the case also suggested a lawsuit from the FTC could begin as early as December.
“I see a lot of speculation about Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard,” said Cheng Meservey. “Any suggestion that the transaction could have anti-competitive effects is absurd. This merger will benefit gamers and the US gaming industry, especially as we face stronger competition from abroad.” That could be a reference to major European and Chinese companies such as Embracer Group and Tencent investing in game studios and related IP. Embracer bought the rights to The Lord Of The Rings earlier this year for an initial cost of SEK 6 billion (£476 million), while Tencent recently invested €300 million (£258 million) in the company from Ubisoft’s founding family, the Guillemots.
“We are committed to continuing to work with regulators around the world to allow the transaction to go through,” Cheng Meservey continued, “but will not hesitate to fight to defend the transaction if the need arises.” While the executive vice president didn’t elaborate on what that might mean, it’s clear senior figures at Activision Blizzard are determined to push through with the deal, even if it means a direct legal challenge from the US government’s antitrust watchdog.
Activision Blizzard’s Microsoft buyout is still under investigation by both the UK’s Competition And Markets Authority and the European Commission, pending any approval. Both agencies have expressed concern that the proposed deal could affect competition within the industry and have knock-on effects on consumers. Part of this stems from speculation about the future of current multiplatform series like Call Of Duty, which Microsoft has contested.
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