Microsoft, Activision CEOs expected to urge US judge to allow $69 billion merger By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Microsoft logo is seen on a smartphone placed on displayed Activision Blizzard’s games characters in this illustration taken January 18, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – With U.S. antitrust enforcers determined to stop Microsoft (NASDAQ:) from buying “Call of Duty” maker Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:), the companies’ two chief executives are expected to testify on Wednesday that the $69 billion deal will be good for gamers and should go forward.

The Federal Trade Commission has asked a judge to stop the transaction temporarily in order to allow the agency’s in-house judge to decide the case. In the past, the side that lost in federal court often conceded and the in-house process was scrapped.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick is expected to testify on Wednesday morning, followed by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in the afternoon.

The case, which is being heard in federal court in San Francisco, will be decided by Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley.

The FTC says the transaction would give Microsoft exclusive access to Activision games, leaving Nintendo and Sony (NYSE:) Group out in the cold.

To address antitrust concerns, Microsoft has offered to license the blockbuster “Call of Duty” to rivals.

Microsoft has argued that it is better off financially by licensing the games to all comers.

The deal has won approval from many jurisdictions but has been opposed by the FTC in the United States and Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority.

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