Microsoft is now (almost) free to close the Activision Blizzard deal after 11:59PM (PT) today.
Photo of outside Microsoft's offices.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals just denied the Federal Trade Commission's request to issue an emergency stay to extend a temporary restraining order. The current restraining order ends July 14, 2023 at 11:59PM (PT). This failure to get that temporary extension means that Microsoft, if they wanted to, could close the deal with Activision Blizzard tonight.

The FTC made the emergency extension request in an effort to keep the deal paused while they try to get their appeal in order. Without this emergency restraining order extension, I'm not even clear on whether or not the FTC can (or will) move forward with the rest of the appeals process. The restraining order being extended would have prevented Microsoft from moving forward with closing this deal before the deal deadline is up on July 18th.

With yet another loss under their belt and another win for Microsoft, the only thing standing in the way of Microsoft closing this deal tonight is the United Kingdom's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The CMA initially blocked the deal back in April. Microsoft quickly filed an appeal. On July 12th, the CMA said that any restructuring of the deal could "lead to a new merger investigation."

As of right now, the CMA and Microsoft have scheduled a "case management conference" for July 17th. It is here that the CMA will "consider the application made jointly by all parties to adjourn these proceedings pending further discussions between the CMA and Microsoft." That is to say: We'll find out on Monday (or Tuesday depending on when that's done and time zone differences) if this is a done deal or if the CMA takes their ball and goes home.

With any luck this will be over early next week and it won't drag on for another year.