Microsoft will receive the first valid approval for the acquisition of Activision Blizzard? The FTC has problems
The Federal Trade Commission may soon comment favorably on the acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The FTC’s decision is likely to prove hugely significant to the deal, with US officials expected to make it through a possible split.
Editorial New York Post gained access to new information regarding the purchase of Microsoft. At least one Democratic representative on the FTC’s four-member panel has stated that he favors a merger, and that could be a challenge for Lina Khan, who wanted to use the deal to showcase her “destructive powers on Big Tech interests.”
Khan may run into obstacles, however, as Christine Wilson, the FTC’s only Republican commissioner, was expected to signal support for the deal, and other committee officials may follow suit.
The New York Post highlights an important aspect – Microsoft willingly subsidizes Democrats. During the 2020 election campaign, the American giant donated $13.8 million to Democrats and only $1.72 million to Republicans. In 2022, the donations were smaller (4.1 million and 1 million), but there is no doubt that the parties receive support from the Xbox manufacturer.
The actions of Microsoft are also significant, whose representatives clearly emphasized that they are able to make significant compromises regarding the acquisition – consequently a corporation “weakens all FTC arguments to block merger”.
“If Microsoft does offer meaningful remedies, President Biden would probably want the deal approved and would ask someone like Tim Wu, his antitrust advisor, to pressure Khan into accepting the proposal,” admitted the former FTC chairman. Microsoft can be trusted to keep its promises because it has acted responsibly in the past, sources confirm.
In this situation, Lina Khan may be somewhat forced to accept the merger. In the vote, the FTC president would get a tie (2:2), which she does not want to allow. Firstly, because it would not be a strong reaction of the commission, and secondly, the situation and internal disputes could have a very negative impact on its authority, and Khan does not want to risk it.
Currently Microsoft most likely has a 70% chance of getting FTC approval, and unofficially it is said that the recommendation will be presented in mid-December – at this time, the giant from Redmond should meet with individual commissioners to finally convince them before the final vote.
One thing is certain – transactions worth tens of billions of dollars are not devoid of analyzes with political overtones, which could also be influenced by the president of the United States. However, if Microsoft receives approval from the FTC, the European Union and the British Competition and Markets Authority may be put against the wall.
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