March 21 (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) on Monday won the dismissal of a consumer antitrust lawsuit over its proposed $69 billion purchase of “Call of Duty” maker Activision Blizzard Inc (ATVI.O). 20 days to revise the legal challenge.
A federal judge in San Francisco to rule that the lawsuit filed by a group of video game plaintiffs “lacks allegations” to support their claim that the proposed acquisition would harm competition in the market.
“The Plaintiffs’ general contention that the merger would cause higher prices, less innovation, less creativity, less consumer choice, lower production, and other potential anticompetitive effects is ‘insufficient,’” U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Corley wrote. “Why how?”
The decision does not affect the US Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) regulatory challenge to the largest toy industry deal ever. Microsoft announced its bid last year, and it also faces competition scrutiny in the EU and UK. Microsoft denied that the deal hurt video game competition.
US antitrust law allows private consumers to challenge mergers and acquisitions regardless of government actions. A hearing before the Federal Trade Commission is scheduled for early August.
A Microsoft spokesperson and attorneys for the company did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
Joseph Savery, the plaintiffs’ attorney, told Reuters they intend to file an amended claim with “additional factual details” in order to “address all the ways the judge has indicated we need to file more.”
Corley canceled a planned preliminary injunction hearing. The case hearing has been scheduled for April 12.
The case is Demartini v. Microsoft Corp, US District Court, Northern District of California, 3: 22-cv-08991.
For the plaintiffs: Joseph Alioto of the law firm Alioto; and Joseph Savery of the law firm of Joseph Savery
For Microsoft: Rakesh Kellaru of Wilkinson Stekloff, Valarie Williams of Alston & Bird
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Video game players are suing Microsoft in a US court to stop the acquisition of Activision
(Reporting by Mike Scarcella). Editing by Lee Jones and David Gregorio
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