A new report from the New York Post citing sources familiar with the inner workings of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) claims that there may be some internal conflict when it comes to Microsoft’s proposed $69B USD acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
Describing it as a “rift” within the agency, the Post report claims that at least one Democrat on the four-member panel has taken a positive position towards the deal, according to a source close to the situation. This could ultimately lead to a tie vote which would open the door for the merger gaining approval by default, the source claims, and would make FTC Chair Lina Khan look weak and potentially tarnish her reputation as a “trustbuster.”
Khan said in June that the agency would put the deal under scrutiny to make sure it would not negatively impact workers, among other concerns at the agency.
The four panel committee includes three democrats and one Republican–Christine Wilson–who has already indicated that she would support the merger. But either Rebecca Slaughter and Alvaro Bedoya–the two Democrat commissioners on the panel besides Khan–is leaning towards giving the merger the nod.
The FTC insider who spoke to the Post claims that the nod would come with conditions or a settlement, such as the 10-year deal with Sony to keep the Call of Duty franchise on PlayStation platforms that Microsoft has supposedly been proposing.
This news follows reporting from Politico last week that the FTC would likely file a lawsuit to block the acquisition in federal court. Sources inside Activision Blizzard speaking to Bloomberg last week said that the company was preparing to fight the FTC in court should it oppose the deal.
Microsoft appears to have an uphill battle as the European Union, the United Kingdom, and other jurisdictions are being critical of the Activision Blizzard buyout. Last week Serbia joined Saudi Arabia and Brazil as one of the few places in the world where Microsoft’s acquisition plans received no opposition.