The acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft has faced a setback as a federal district court judge in California has granted the US Federal Trade Commission’s request to temporarily block the deal from closing.
Judge Edward Davila from California’s Northern District has issued a temporary restraining order that prevents Microsoft and Activision from completing the proposed transaction and maintains the current state of affairs, reported Reuters.
The court did not make a decision on the FTC’s request for a preliminary injunction, which could cause a further delay in the transaction. Another hearing has been scheduled for June 22 and 23, to be presided over by a different judge.
The FTC filed a complaint in federal court on Monday, requesting that the court halt the merger while the agency’s administrative review of the transaction is ongoing.
In December 2022, the FTC filed a lawsuit against the Activision Blizzard acquisition, stating that it may allow Microsoft to impede its competitors in the gaming console, subscription content, and cloud-gaming industry.
The possibility of the deal moving forward during the FTC review is contingent on the court’s ruling regarding the agency’s preliminary injunction request. The court has specified that the deal cannot be finalized until a later date determined by the court or until five days after the matter is resolved, whichever is later.
“Accelerating the legal process in the US will ultimately bring more choice and competition to the gaming market. A temporary restraining order makes sense until we can receive a decision from the Court, which is moving swiftly,” a spokesperson for Microsoft told Yahoo Finance.
On Monday, Brad Smith, the vice president of Microsoft, expressed the company’s willingness to present its case in a federal court.
The speaker stated that expediting the legal process in the US would result in increased market choice and competition.