Activision Blizzard Inc. shares fell Friday in the first trading day after a report that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is likely to file an antitrust lawsuit to block the videogame publisher’s acquisition by Microsoft Corp.
Politico reported late Wednesday that FTC staff are skeptical of arguments by the companies that the $69 billion acquisition would not give Microsoft
an unfair benefit in the videogame market, though commissioners have not yet voted on a lawsuit.
Microsoft makes the Xbox videogame console, creating concerns that it would make some of Activision’s
most popular games such as the “Call of Duty” franchise exclusive to its platform.
This would in turn shut out rival Sony Group Corp.’s
A Microsoft spokesman told Politico that the company “is prepared to address the concerns of regulators, including the FTC, and Sony to ensure the deal closes with confidence.”
Activision shares dropped 4.2% on Friday, while Microsoft’s stock edged up by 0.1%.
The report surfaced after the European Union’s competition watchdog said earlier this month it would pursue an in-depth investigation into Microsoft Corp. acquisition of Activision Blizzard over whether the deal could harm competition in the videogame industry.