Microsoft Temporarily Restricted From Acquiring Activision Blizzard, Judge Rules

A federal court has issued a temporary restraining order that will prevent Microsoft from closing its $68.7 billion deal to acquire Activision Blizzard — at least for now. The Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint Monday seeking an injunction, a preliminary injunction, and the court agreed for the injunction while that is considered an injunction. If the courts also issue an injunction, the FTC will have a chance to make its legal case before any deal takes place.

As a result of today’s order, Microsoft and Activision cannot complete the acquisition until “after 11:59 p.m. PST on the fifth business day after the court rules on the FTC’s application for a preliminary injunction” or a date determined by the court (whichever is later) . The court has also scheduled an evidentiary hearing on the preliminary injunction for June 22-23, so it’s extremely unlikely that these companies will close the deal this month.

Microsoft spokesperson David Cuddy said in a statement to Microsoft the edge. “The temporary restraining order makes sense until we can receive a decision from the court, which is moving quickly.”

Microsoft and Activision announced their planned acquisition in January 2022, and in the months that followed, faced massive regulatory scrutiny. Although EU regulators approved the deal in May, UK regulators blocked the deal in April (a decision Microsoft has appealed) and the Federal Trade Commission sued in December in another attempt to block the deal.

Technically, the deal is supposed to close before the July 18 deadline. If the deal is not renegotiated to extend this deadline, Microsoft is obligated to pay Activision Blizzard a $3 billion breakup fee.

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Update June 13th, 10:04 PM ETAdded statement from Microsoft.

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