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FTC asks court to halt Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard purchase

The United States Federal Trade Commission has asked a federal court to further halt Microsoft‘s acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

Earlier this week the Xbox maker won a court battle with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which is seeking to block the deal over antitrust concerns.

An existing temporary restraining order on the deal ends just before midnight on Friday, but the FTC has filed an emergency motion to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals asking for a “temporary pause” on Microsoft’s closing of the transaction.

Microsoft wants to complete the transaction before the current merger agreement expires on July 18, after which Activision Blizzard could walk away with a $3 billion termination fee if an extension isn’t agreed.

“We’re 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,” said Microsoft president Brad Smith in an emailed statement to Reuters.

The FTC has claimed that Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley’s decision to refuse a preliminary injunction to halt the deal “raises serious, substantial issues for the Court of Appeals to resolve.”

“Granting an injunction pending appeal is warranted because the FTC is likely to succeed on appeal,” the agency wrote.

“More fundamentally, the Court committed an error of law when it relied upon the self-serving testimony of Microsoft executives that they do not intend to foreclose rivals as a reason to find the FTC had failed to make its prima facie case,” the FTC wrote in its motion.

UK competition regulator the CMA, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard announced on Tuesday that they’d paused legal proceedings with a view to reaching an out of court agreement on the merger, after the Xbox firm won its case against the FTC.

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