Money & The Economy

FTC Will Scrutinize Microsoft’s Massive Video Game Acquisition

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will review Microsoft’s $68 billion acquisition of video game company Activision, according to a Bloomberg report.

While the Department of Justice (DOJ) has previously handled Microsoft’s antitrust cases, the FTC will helm the investigation into whether the merger will have an anticompetitive effect on the video game market, Bloomberg reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Microsoft announced plans to acquire Activision in January, pegging the deal at $68 billion and giving the tech giant ownership of premier franchises, including Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. Antitrust experts predicted that the deal would likely attract regulatory scrutiny due to the number of video game titles Microsoft would gain and potentially make exclusive for its Xbox console.

The DOJ has traditionally dealt with antitrust issues involving Microsoft, most notably suing the company in 1998 for its anticompetitive conduct in the operating system market. However, Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter, who heads the DOJ’s antitrust division, previously represented Microsoft in several antitrust cases including a complaint against Google, earning as much $20 million over from Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison LLP.

The DOJ did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment, while the FTC declined to comment on the matter.

The FTC’s investigation into the Activision acquisition will focus on how Microsoft can leverage the gaming company’s portfolio to boost its hardware products, according to Bloomberg. The agency will likely scrutinize how Microsoft’s ownership of Activision affects rivals.

Both Kanter and FTC Chair Lina Khan have pledged more aggressive antitrust enforcement in technology markets.

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