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FTC grants Microsoft access to Sony documents as EU extends decision deadline

The newest developments around the Activision Blizzard takeover
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In a partial win for Microsoft, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has granted the Xbox maker the right to access internal documents of rival company Sony to prepare for its court defense of the proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

Sony had lodged formal complaints against the subpoena, but the FTC denied most of these. This means that Sony now has to give Microsoft access to every document dealing with its game exclusivity deals from January 1, 2019, until today.

Microsoft did not win a complete victory here, though, as it won’t get access to earlier files and also won’t be able to view data regarding Jim Ryan’s performance as CEO, which was another one of the company’s requests. The Xbox maker subpoenaed Sony to prepare for its defense of the Activision Blizzard takeover in court after the FTC announced plans to sue the company.

Microsoft sign on a wall.

The FTC mostly sided with Microsoft regarding Sony's complaints against a subpoena.

In the meantime, the EU Commission dealing with market regulation has extended its previous deadline for a final decision about the acquisition by ten days – April 25, 2023, is now when the EU wants to conclude the whole affair. Margrethe Vestager, the responsible commissioner, told Bloomberg that regulators mustn’t race with each other to come to a decision about this case.

The EU recently invited Microsoft, Sony, and other interested parties to a hearing in Brussels, where the Xbox manufacturer got a chance to address red flags raised by the regulators. The hearing reportedly did not lead to a breakthrough, but left Microsoft’s leadership optimistic that the deal would be given approval, especially after the company made deals with NVIDIA and Nintendo regarding the access to Activision Blizzard and Microsoft games for their platforms.

The UK’s Competition and Market Authority (CMA) seems like the greatest hurdle for the deal at the moment. Doubting that Call of Duty could even run on Nintendo’s hardware, the CMA advised Microsoft to sell parts of Activision Blizzard off in order to seal the deal. Microsoft rejected this measure firmly, instead seeking to address the CMA’s issues surrounding cloud gaming through the pact with NVIDIA. The CMA’s deadline for a final report is one day after the new EU deadline.