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Federal judge temporarily blocks Microsoft-Activision deal

Microsoft Corp.’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard Inc. was temporarily blocked by a federal judge in California who said a temporary restraining order was necessary to maintain the status quo while the Federal Trade Commission challenges the deal.

The FTC, which sought to block the deal in its in-house court, filed an emergency motion to halt the merger on Monday.

The ruling holds the two companies apart until five days after the court rules on a more permanent pause on the deal, US District Judge Edward J. Davila wrote.

An evidentiary hearing on the longer-term injunction is set to be held in San Francisco on June 22 and 23.

The FTC filed suit last year at its in-house court, but the agency’s administrative judge lacks the ability to order a pause to the deal.

A Microsoft spokesperson said the order was expected and lauded the court for moving swiftly toward a resolution of the case.

US authorities are not the only ones who have challenged the deal. UK competition regulators vetoed the merger, though Microsoft is appealing that order.

The case is Federal Trade Commission v. Microsoft Corp., 3:23-cv-02880, US District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco). Bloomberg

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