The United States Federal Trade Commission has reportedly started an antitrust review of the recently announced Microsoft deal to purchase Activision-Blizzard-King for nearly 70 billion dollars, according to a report from Bloomberg. Typically such an investigation would be initiated first by the Justice Department, however, it is the FTC taking the reigns this time, who Bloomberg described as "more aggressive" than the Justice Department in matters of antitrust.
The news that the FTC has started its review comes after US congressmen and Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler signaled that the federal government intends to scrutinize the massive Microsoft/ABK deal carefully. Anti-trust laws exist for the purpose of ensuring that markets retain fair amounts of competition, so it is not surprising that such a massive merger could face possible legal challenges.
The FTC's approach to the case will be influenced by their recent announcement that it, and the Justice Department, are seeking to modernize and "strengthen" their enforcement against illegal mergers and anticompetitive deals. The commission cited "recent evidence" that shows industries across the economy are becoming less competitive and more consolidated, which presents challenges to "choice and economic gains for consumers, workers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses."
Considering the FTC's recent comments, it is not out of the question that the US government could take action to block the Microsoft/ABK merger in its entirety. We will have to wait and see what the commission decides to do.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.