The U.S. Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint on Thursday aimed at blocking tech giant Microsoft (MSFT.O) $69 billion bid to buy “Call of Duty” games maker Activision , over concerns the deal would thwart competition by denying rivals access to popular gaming content.
Microsoft, which owns the Xbox, said in January 2022 that it would buy Activision for $68.7 billion in the biggest gaming industry deal in history.
Microsoft President Brad Smith said they would fight the FTC. “While we believed in giving peace a chance, we have complete confidence in our case and welcome the opportunity to present our case in court,” he said.
The agency said that Microsoft had a record of buying valuable gaming content and using it to suppress competition from rival consoles.
“Microsoft has already shown that it can and will withhold content from its gaming rivals,” said Holly Vedova, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition. “Today we seek to stop Microsoft from gaining control over a leading independent game studio and using it to harm competition in multiple dynamic and fast-growing gaming markets.”
Shares in Microsoft and Activision both fell on news of the FTC complaint. Shares in Activision were down 2.3%, or $1.78 to $74.16, while Microsoft was down from earlier highs but still up 1% for the day to $246.78.