Light Wave


Activision CEO Kotick Takes Victory Lap Following Big Win Vs. FTC

By Mara Lafontaine · July 19, 2023

In brief…

  • Blizzard Activision CEO Bobby Kotick discussed his recent victory against legal challenges from the FTC to the pending $75 billion Microsoft acquisition of his company.
  • Kotick insisted the deal is not monopolistic, pointing to intense global competition in the video game industry.
  • He commended the EU's oversight of the merger and voiced optimism over its pending reveiw in the UK.
  • Kotick urged the FTC to avoid using its wide-ranging powers to impede legitimate transactions in the future.

Fresh from his legal victories against the Federal Trade Commission, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick discussed plans to move forward with Microsoft’s $75 billion acquisition of his video game company in an interview with CNBC.

The deal has successfully faced a slew of legal challenges since its announcement in January 2022 announcement. “We won in the district court. We won again in the district court. We won in the appellate court. And we now had a win in the Supreme Court. At this point, I think the law is clear,” Kotick declared.

Kotick insisted claims of anti-trust violations by the FTC and others are unfounded, given the highly competitive gaming market and a bumpy economy. “There’s a lot of economic uncertainty. And I think you’ve heard the Fed say that they are focused on a 2% inflation rate next year. I think that we haven’t seen the last of interest rate increases… I don’t think there’s any such thing as a recession-proof business… The best video game companies in the world today are companies in China, like Tencent and Bytedance and Alibaba. And you’ve got Nintendo and Sony with incredible intellectual property. Netflix now entered the business. There is a lot of competition,” he said. 

On the potential headwinds the merger faces across the Atlantic, Kotick praised the EU proceedings: “I think the EU was incredibly thoughtful in the way that they approached the process. I think they were extremely well-informed. I think one of the reasons is that the video game industry is growing dramatically in Europe… And I think video games are seen as an opportunity for growth in a market where there has not been a lot of growth. And so I think in the case of the UK, I can’t tell you what the specifics will be, but I think they’ve come to realize that… the remedies that we’ve proposed are reasonable.”

At the same time, Kotick intends to continue to pursue the Chinese market, saying, “I think that there is no good reason why we shouldn’t be continuing to operate in China where there’s nothing but opportunity and talent.”

As for the Federal Trade Commission, Kotick said that while the agency has responsibilities to protect American workers and consumers, it should avoid “unduly burdening businesses that have legitimate opportunities for transactions… Hopefully, they’ll adhere to that mission.”