FTC withdraws its in-house challenge to Microsoft’s Activision-Blizzard deal

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is suspending its administrative challenge (PDF) seeking to block Microsoft from buying Activision Blizzard. The FTC had taken a two-pronged approach against the $68.7 billion deal, filing this case last December that was scheduled to go before its own administrative judge on August 2nd.

The other part was its pursuit of a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction that would have stopped Microsoft closing its deal while the FTC’s administrative process continued. A US federal judge denied the injunction request earlier this month, and an appeals court also turned down its request to put an emergency hold on the deal. The FTC is still appealing the preliminary injunction denial, though.

Microsoft and Activision Blizzard still haven’t completed the acquisition yet, and recently announced an extension of their mutually-agreed deadline until October 18th. The FTC could re-file this administrative challenge, all while Microsoft continues to negotiate with the UK’s CMA. As we noted earlier this week, there are signs things may not take that long — Xbox head Phil Spencer told employees the two companies “remain optimistic that we will get our acquisition over the finish line.”

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