The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
UK watchdog investigates Microsoft’s $68.7 billion Activision deal. Britain’s antitrust watchdog said it had started an investigation into Microsoft Corp’s $68.7 billion deal to buy “Call of Duty” maker Activision Blizzard Inc. The Competition and Markets Authority said it had until Sept. 1 to make its phase 1 decision on whether the deal between the U.S. technology company and video-game maker Activision would reduce competition in the United Kingdom. In the biggest gaming industry deal in history, Microsoft said in January it was buying Activision Blizzard. According to Refinitiv data, the Microsoft-Activision deal would be the largest all-cash acquisition on record.
Spirit Airlines again puts off a vote on Frontier’s offer as it mulls JetBlue’s. Spirit Airlines said Thursday that it had again delayed a shareholder vote on its proposed acquisition by Frontier Airlines, allowing it to continue discussions with Frontier and with JetBlue Airways, which has made a rival bid. The vote, which was to take place Friday morning, was rescheduled for July 15.
The postponement is the third time in a month that Spirit has pushed back the vote as it has repeatedly spurned JetBlue, arguing that antitrust regulators would probably reject a combination of the two airlines. Instead, Spirit has encouraged shareholders to support the Frontier deal, which it has said has an easier path to regulatory approval.
Facebook asks U.S. court for old FTC merger documents in antitrust fight. Meta’s Facebook has asked a U.S. court for eight documents created by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission as part of their review of the company’s purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp, which the agency allowed to go forward. The request was made in a lawsuit filed by the FTC that has asked the court to order both of those deals undone. Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012 and WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014. The FTC sued Meta’s Facebook in 2020, during the Trump administration, alleging that the company acted illegally to maintain its social network monopoly.
Edited by Gary J. Malone