The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has announced that it's filed a request for a temporary restraining order along with a preliminary injunction against Microsoft and Activision Blizzard.
The FTC, which issued a lawsuit against the ActiBlizz takeover back in December, told IGN today that the restraining order is necessary due to concerns that the two companies may be attempting to close the deal in the near future.
"Microsoft and Activision Blizzard have represented in the past that they cannot close their deal due to antitrust reviews of the transaction in other jurisdictions. But Microsoft and Activision have not provided assurances that they will maintain that position."
"In light of that, and public reporting that Microsoft and Activision Blizzard are considering closing their deal imminently, we have filed a request for a temporary restraining order to prevent them from closing while review continues.”
As you can probably gather, the FTC's focus here is on making sure Microsoft and Activision Blizzard can't close the deal before the Commission determines "whether the Proposed Acquisition violates U.S. antitrust law". An evidentiary hearing is set for August 2nd, but the merger between Microsoft and ActiBlizz has its own deadline of July 18th.
In response to today's news, Microsoft President Brad Smith had the following to say:
"Today’s action by the FTC to file suit in our Activision case in federal court should accelerate the decision-making process. This benefits everyone.
"We always prefer constructive and amicable paths with governments but have confidence in our case and look forward to presenting it."
We'll likely hear more about this situation pretty soon (maybe later this week), so we'll keep you up to date!