The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected the latest attempt to block a deal between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard by the so-called “Gamers’ Lawsuit” plaintiffs.
The group, represented by the law firms Joseph Saveri Law Firm and Alioto Law Form, filed an emergency application for a temporary hold on the deal pending an appeal of the previous refusal by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The application, sent on July 15 to Judge Elena Kagan, was rejected, as can be seen from the files of the Supreme Court. If you’re unfamiliar with this particular lawsuit, it’s often referred to in the media as the “Gamers’ lawsuit,” which is consistent with what its authors claim.
It was formally initiated by several self-described “video game consumers” represented by the aforementioned law firms in an attempt to stop the merger, arguing that it would hurt competition, reduce consumer choice, drive up prices, and so on.
In the US, legislation (Section 7 of the Clayton Antitrust Act) allows individuals to file antitrust lawsuits.
The plaintiffs sought a preliminary injunction against the merger pending a hearing on the merits, and in May federal judge Jacqueline Scott Corley denied them, also granting a similar motion from the FTC. The plaintiffs then appealed to the 9th Circuit Court and finally to the Supreme Court. All of these attempts were rejected.
In essence, this is a conventional class action lawsuit initiated by law firms using several people to their advantage.
It comes after US antitrust regulator FTC also failed in its latest attempt to right its defeat in court in an attempt to block the acquisition. Although the regulator’s administrative process has not yet been reversed, its chances of stopping the acquisition before it is completed are virtually nil.
In the UK, the CMA has taken a more diplomatic stance since its rebuff as Microsoft presented a modified version of the deal that should ease the regulator’s concerns.
Elsewhere, most regulators have decided in favor of the acquisition, including recent decisions by the European Union, China, South Korea, South Africa, and Turkey, with a total of 40 countries having approved the acquisition.
New Zealand has expressed doubts about the deal, and Canada expressed its disapproval in a letter, but none of these countries has yet made a formal decision to block the acquisition.