WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Trade Commission set a date on Wednesday for its internal judge to hear its arguments on why Microsoft should not be allowed to buy games maker Activision Blizzard for $69 billion.
The case is set to be heard 20 days after an appeals court rules on whether the deal may go forward. The FTC had fought the deal in district court but lost and appealed.
While the U.S. challenge continues, most of the antitrust focus has been on London, where Britain's Competition and Markets Authority, which had balked at approving the deal, said this month that Activision's offer to sell its streaming rights to Ubisoft Entertainment "substantially addresses previous concerns."
Microsoft said it continued to plan to close the transaction on Oct. 18. "We have full confidence in our case and the deal's benefits to gamers and competition," a Microsoft spokesperson said by email.
The FTC said in a statement it continued to believe that the deal was "a threat to competition" and so was putting the matter on its calendar. "Our current focus is on the federal appeal process," spokesperson Victoria Graham said in an email.
(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by David Holmes and Richard Chang)