Rift at FTC might provide path for Microsoft to get Activision deal approved

Kevork Djansezian

A potential rift at the Federal Trade Commission may provide a path for Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) to have its $69 billion purchase of Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI) approved by the antitrust authority.

At least one Democrat on the four-member Commission is said to be possibly leaning in favor the transaction, according to a New York Post report, which cited a source close to the matter. If the Democrat and the Republican vote to support the deal and the two other Democrats including Chairwoman Lina Khan are against the deal, it would be approved.

Khan would likely not like this scenario, so she would approve a settlement that Microsoft (MSFT), the NY Post said, citing an interview with former FTC Chairman William Kovacic.

The NY Post report comes after Politico earlier this month reported that the FTC is likely to file a suit to block the transaction.

Bloomberg reported on Friday that Microsoft (MSFT) is said to be preparing to defend itself in court if the FTC files a lawsuit to block the mega deal. The Xbox maker has informed regulators about talks with Sony (SONY) that would allow its popular “Call of Duty” game to be available on Sony’s PlayStation for ten years, though hasn’t formally made a remedy offer as the review is not at that stage.

Several media outlets, including Dealreporter, have said the FTC staff is expected to a make a recommendation on ATVI/MSFT deal by mid-December, with the full Commission making a decision next month.