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US appeals court opens docket on FTC effort to overturn loss on Microsoft deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -A U.S. appeals court on the West Coast opened a docket on Thursday on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s effort to overturn its loss trying to stop Microsoft from buying “Call of Duty” maker Activision.

A federal judge in California had ruled for Microsoft on Tuesday, saying the agency had failed to show the deal was illegal under antitrust law. The FTC said late on Wednesday that it would appeal that loss, and Microsoft has said it would fight that appeal.

The docket was opened in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and suggests the text of the FTC’s appeal was forthcoming. The court has not yet set a schedule for the appeal.

Any outstanding regulatory hurdle makes it more likely that the agreement between Microsoft and Activision will expire on July 18 without the deal having been completed. After July 18, either company will be free to walk away from the deal unless they negotiate an extension.

In her opinion, U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley in San Francisco rejected the Biden administration’s argument the deal would hurt consumers by giving Xbox game console-maker Microsoft exclusive access to games including the best-selling “Call of Duty.”

(Reporting by Diane Bartz and David Shepardson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)


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