FTC Will Appeal Court Ruling On Microsoft's Activision Blizzard Acquisition

In mid-June, the FTC took formal steps to block Microsoft's massive $69 billion acquisition of video game giant Activision Blizzard — something Microsoft hadn't seemed too concerned about, instead suggesting that the legal action would ultimately speed up the entire process. Yesterday, only around four weeks after the FTC made its initial announcement, Microsoft's planned acquisition was given the go-ahead.

The entire debacle isn't over yet, though, and the FTC isn't bowing out gracefully. The agency has announced intentions to appeal the court's ruling, though many details are still absent at this time. The deal has faced pushback from competitor Sony and prior to the U.S. federal court's ruling on the matter this week, Microsoft had also faced resistance from British regulator CMA. In a surprising twist, the CMA backpedaled a bit and said that in light of the U.S. ruling, it would reconsider its own stance on the acquisition.

The acquisition deal is only days away from expiring

The decision to appeal is revealed in a legal document that was filed with the U.S. District Court in the Nothern District of California on July 12. In it, the FTC briefly states that it will appeal the court's ruling against the agency's preliminary injunction request. No additional information is provided. 

The last-minute decision and subsequent appeal represent unfortunate timing for the deal, which must be wrapped up before its July 18 deadline. If that expiration date is reached while the matter remains tied up in legal troubles, we'll have to wait and see whether the two companies work out an agreement to extend it — or if one of them decides to walk away from the acquisition entirely.

Though we have to wait for additional information from the FTC, Microsoft was quick to make it known that it will challenge the appeal. The company's president Brad Smith said in a statement that Microsoft is "disappointed that the FTC is continuing to pursue what has become a demonstrably weak case, and we will oppose further efforts to delay the ability to move forward."