Microsoft on Monday won a dismissal in a private consumer antitrust lawsuit over a proposed $69 billion acquisition of ‘Call of Duty’ maker Activision Blizzard, but plaintiffs have an improved legal challenge. A grace period of 20 days was given.
A federal judge in San Francisco has ruled that a lawsuit from a group of video game plaintiffs “lacks arguments” to support their claim that the proposed acquisition harms market competition.
“Plaintiffs’ general opinion that the merger could cause ‘higher prices, less innovation, less creativity, less consumer choice, less production, and other potential anti-competitive effects.’ This argument is unsatisfactory,” wrote U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Corey. “Why and how?”
The decision does not affect the US Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) regulatory challenge to the largest gaming industry deal in history. Microsoft announced a tender last year, but it also faces competitive scrutiny in the EU and the UK. Microsoft denies that the deal harms video game competition.
U.S. antitrust laws allow private consumers to challenge mergers and acquisitions aside from government action. Witness hearings at the FTC are scheduled for his early August.
A Microsoft spokesperson and an attorney for the company did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
The plaintiffs’ attorney, Joseph Saveri, told Reuters the amendment “adds factual detail” to “address all the ways the judge indicated we needed to argue further.” He said he plans to file a lawsuit.
Corey has canceled a scheduled hearing on whether to issue an interim injunction. A status hearing is scheduled for April 12th.
The action is Demartini v. Microsoft Corp, United States District Court, Northern District of California, 3:22-cv-08991.
For Plaintiff: Joseph Alioto of Alioto Law Firm. Joseph Saveri of Joseph Saveri Law Office
For Microsoft: Wilkinson Stekloff’s Rakesh Kilaru, Alston & Bird’s Valarie Williams
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https://www.channelnewsasia.com/business/microsoft-wins-dismissal-gamers-suit-over-69-billion-activision-deal-3363961 Microsoft wins dismissal of gamer lawsuit over $69 billion Activision contract