The first day of a weeklong hearing that could determine the outcome of Microsoft’s $70 billion acquisition of the video game giant Activision Blizzard opened Thursday with a promise from Microsoft: If a federal judge grants an injunction that would delay the deal’s closing, Microsoft could abandon the deal altogether.
“This is going to decide whether the deal goes forward,” said Beth Wilkinson, Microsoft’s lead lawyer. She added that a loss could force the company into a “three-year administrative nightmare” that would sink the transaction, which it hopes to close by July 18.
That set the stakes for the hearing in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, where the Federal Trade Commission began laying out its case that Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision — and its popular games like Call of Duty — would be devastating for the video game industry.
The F.T.C. is asking Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley for a preliminary injunction, which would bar Microsoft from completing the deal before the F.T.C. had the chance to argue the case in its internal court.