Microsoft sends CEO Satya Nadella, head of Xbox Phil Spencer and other top managers of the division to defend in the case against the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of the United States regarding the acquisition of Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, reports The Verge.
As early as this week, they, along with Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, will appear in court and try to “defend” against a possible preliminary injunction against the deal, which the FTC is insisting on. If the commission succeeds in winning the injunction, Microsoft has acknowledged in court documents that the deal could be disrupted.
The list of Microsoft and Xbox executives also included Xbox head of development Sarah Bond, head of Xbox creator experience; Microsoft CFO Amy Hood; Matt Booty, head of Xbox Game Studios; and Microsoft Gaming CFO Tim Stuart. Lori Wright, who previously testified for Microsoft at the Epic Games v. Apple trial, will also appear. Activision’s CFO, Armin Zerza, will also testify.
Sony’s PlayStation chief, Jim Ryan, will also testify via video link to discuss market competition. Microsoft was quick to point out that Sony — a vocal opponent of the merger — won’t appear in person at the courtroom in San Francisco.
“Unlike Sony, our most senior executives will testify in person to answer any questions about our business strategy. This deal means more choice for gamers, a fact that only becomes clearer the more you look at the case,” says David Cuddy, general manager of public affairs at Microsoft.
The FTC’s hearing will begin with a preliminary hearing on June 21, and the full hearing will last five days: June 22, 23, 27, 28 and 29.
A lot depends on this hearing for Microsoft after the FTC filed an application to prevent the company from buying Activision Blizzard. The commission is seeking an injunction from a U.S. federal district court weeks before the deal’s July 18 deadline.
At the same time, the trade commission believes that Microsoft’s actions following the acquisition of ZeniMax and Bethesda is “strong evidence” in favor of preventing the purchase of Activision Blizzard. Microsoft announced plans to acquire ZeniMax and its portfolio of studios in 2020. After the deal closed, games like Redfall and the upcoming Starfield became Xbox exclusives.
As you know, in May the European Commission approved Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.