Here’s some potentially bad news for the sale of Activision Blizzard to Microsoft, as Politico is reporting that it is likely the US FTC will be filing a lawsuit to stop the acquisition – based on three sources “familiar with the matter”. A lawsuit could postpone the deal’s timing and even endanger it altogether, regardless of its result.

The acquisition deal has seen a lot of pressure and antitrust probes coming from many sides (including several other countries’ regulating bodies and watchdog organizations), as it could constitute an unfair boost for Microsoft’s side. The most vocal voice against the sale is Microsoft’s chief console competitor, Sony, who argues that the sale would open the door to making many Activision Blizzard games (mostly focusing o Call of Duty) exclusive to Microsoft platforms. This, Sony argues, would significantly disadvantage Sony platforms and leave consumers with less choices for gaming.

A lawsuit challenging the deal is not guaranteed, and the FTC’s four commissioners have yet to vote out a complaint or meet with lawyers for the companies, two of the people said. However, the FTC staff reviewing the deal are skeptical of the companies’ arguments, those people said.

The investigation remains ongoing, but much of the heavy lifting is completed, including depositions of Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella and Activision head Bobby Kotick, the people with knowledge of the investigation said. If the agency does move ahead with a case, it could come as soon as next month, said the people, all of whom were granted anonymity to discuss a confidential matter.

– Politico’s Josh Sisco

Well known gaming industry journalist Jason Schreier also weighed in on the story as well:

Thanksgiving evening bombshell news. Nobody knows what the result of an antitrust lawsuit might be, but the landscape is different than it was when the DOJ lost its case against AT&T/Time Warner (and the NYT just ran a story last week about how that was the “worst merger ever”)

— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) November 23, 2022

I can’t speak to Politico’s sourcing nor can I back up their report, but on face value, there is nothing misleading or contradictory about it. They are reporting the FTC is likely to file a lawsuit. That’s it!

— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) November 23, 2022

You can read the full Politico article here, as it goes in to detail about both Microsoft and Sony’s arguments so far, as well as Google and Epic’s involvement.