On Tuesday, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California denied the FTC’s motion for a preliminary injunction.
Had it been granted, the injunction would have blocked the $69 billion deal from being completed until the US regulator’s in-house court had a chance to rule on whether the merger hurt competition in the games industry.
Wednesday’s appeal from the FTC means it now has a chance to convince the appeals court that the ruling was incorrect.
However, a restraining order expiring on Friday, July 14 means that, barring an extension from the appeals court, Microsoft will be able to push through and close the deal this weekend.
“The District Court’s ruling makes crystal clear that this acquisition is good for both competition and consumers,” Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president, said in a statement to The Verge.
“We’re disappointed that the FTC is continuing to pursue what has become a demonstrably weak case, and we will oppose further efforts to delay the ability to move forward.”
Pending the outcome of the FTC’s appeal, the ruling removes one of the last major obstacles preventing the deal from being completed. The European Commission approved Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard in May.
Earlier this week the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority paused legal proceedings with Microsoft and Activision Blizzard with a view to reaching an agreement over the game companies’ proposed merger, after the deal was cleared in the US.
However, while the regulator has said it’s ready to consider a restructured deal proposal, it has warned that this process may require it to carry out a fresh merger investigation.