According to a CNBC source, the FTC will seek a court order to stop the $69 billion deal going through before its July 18 deadline.
In December, the FTC announced plans to sue Microsoft in a bid to block the proposed acquisition, which the regulator argues would enable the company to “suppress competitors” to its Xbox console, subscription content and cloud gaming business.
That action is set to bring the case before its internal administrative law judge in August, when an initial decision to block the deal could be made through a trial-like process.
Seeking an injunction to temporarily block the deal from being completed next month would enable this process to go ahead.
The FTC has filed a complaint with the US District Court for the Northern District of California, seeking a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction.
“Both a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction are necessary because Microsoft and Activision have represented that they may consummate the Proposed Acquisition at any time [redacted] without any further notice to the Commission,” the FTC said in its court filing.
“A preliminary injunction is necessary to maintain the status quo and prevent interim harm to competition during the pendency of the FTC’s administrative proceeding to determine whether the Proposed Acquisition violates U.S. antitrust law. A temporary restraining order is necessary to maintain the status quo while this Court decides whether to grant the requested preliminary injunction.”
Responding to the move, Microsoft president Brad Smith said in a statement: “Today’s action by the FTC to file suit in our Activision case in federal court should accelerate the decision-making process. This benefits everyone.
“We always prefer constructive and amicable paths with governments but have confidence in our case and look forward to presenting it.”
The European Commission approved Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard in May.
The ruling arrived shortly after the UK’s competition regulator decided to prevent the deal, which it claimed would stop the acquisition from happening globally.