A federal judge on Tuesday ruled against the Federal Trade Commission’s attempt to delay Activision Blizzard’s $70 billion acquisition of Microsoft, setting the stage for the tech giant and the video game publisher to merge as soon as this month.
In a 53-page decision, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley of the US District Court for the Northern District of California said that the FTC had not shown a probable cause to prove that the merger was likely to result in a substantial reduction in competition that would harm consumers..
She denied the FTC’s request for a preliminary injunction, which would have delayed closing the deal until after the agency could fight it in an internal court.
The ruling is a significant blow to the FTC’s efforts to police rampant technology mergers more aggressively. That strategy is led by the president of the agency, Lina Khan, who has argued that the vast influence of Big Tech over business and communications has led to anti-competitive behavior. The FTC sued Microsoft, Meta and Amazon, but it walked away from one of its cases against Meta and has had little to show for its efforts so far.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.