U.S. antitrust enforcer says pressing on with fight against Microsoft/Activision deal

By Diane Bartz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Friday it remained focused on its appeal opposing Xbox maker Microsoft’s now-closed $69 billion deal to buy Activision but would “assess” the company’s agreement with Ubisoft.

The companies closed their transaction on Friday after winning approval from Britain on condition that they sell the streaming rights to Activision’s games to Ubisoft Entertainment to address the UK regulator’s competition concerns.

In the United States, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has also fought the deal, and has an argument scheduled before an appeals court on Dec. 6. The agency said on Friday that it remained focused on that appeal.

“Microsoft and Activision’s new agreement with Ubisoft presents a whole new facet to the merger that will affect American consumers, which the FTC will assess as part of its ongoing administrative proceeding,” added spokeswoman Victoria Graham. “The FTC continues to believe this deal is a threat to competition.”

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Susan Fenton)