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FTC sues to block Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of game giant Activision Blizzard

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The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday sued Microsoft Corp. to block its $69 billion deal to buy Activision Blizzard Inc.

The acquisition, which would be Microsoft’s
MSFT,
+1.07%
largest and the biggest ever in the video gaming industry, would “enable Microsoft to suppress competitors to its Xbox gaming consoles and its rapidly growing subscription content and cloud-gaming business,” the FTC claimed.

“Microsoft has already shown that it can and will withhold content from its gaming rivals,” Holly Vedova, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, said in a statement. “Today we seek to stop Microsoft from gaining control over a leading independent game studio and using it to harm competition in multiple dynamic and fast-growing gaming markets.”

FTC members pointed to Microsoft’s record of “acquiring and using valuable gaming content to suppress competition from rival consoles,” including its acquisition of ZeniMax, parent company of Bethesda Softworks.

Microsoft President Brad Smith indicated the software giant will fight the lawsuit. In a statement, he said Microsoft has “been committed since Day One to addressing competition concerns.”

Shares of Microsoft are up 1% in trading Thursday. Activision’s
ATVI,
-1.40%
stock is down 2%.

Credit: marketwatch.com

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