June 16 (Reuters) - Microsoft (MSFT.O), which is seeking to buy games giant Activision ATVI.O, faces two legal fights in coming weeks with U.S. antitrust enforcers who are determined to stop the $69 billion transaction.
Microsoft has pressed for a decision sooner rather than later, noting that the purchase agreement has a termination date of July 18, although such dates can be extended and often are. When AT&T (T.N) was buying DirecTV in 2015, the companies extended the termination date twice.
The first fight will be in federal court in California, beginning on June 22 and running until June 29. The second, if it goes forward, is before a Federal Trade Commission administrative law judge and begins on Aug. 2.
Here are four potential outcomes of the California hearing:
* Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley may grant the preliminary injunction and the companies terminate. In the past, most companies which lose at this point have scrapped the proposed deal.
* The judge may grant the preliminary injunction, the companies extend the deal deadline past July 18, and they take the fight to an FTC administrative law judge in August.
* Corley may refuse to grant the preliminary injunction and the FTC drops the fight. This happened most recently with Meta Platforms' META.O purchase of VR content maker Within Unlimited. The FTC lost in federal court and dropped the internal FTC challenge.
* The judge may refuse to grant the preliminary injunction, and the agency fights on. That can be appealed to a federal appeals court. In any case, an administrative law judge at the FTC is scheduled to hear arguments about the deal in August.
If the case goes to Michael Chappell, an FTC judge, as scheduled in August, here are the potential outcomes:
* If Microsoft wins, the FTC staff can ask Chair Lina Khan and the commissioners, who voted to bring the case, to overturn the verdict. The next stop after that would be a federal appeals court. When Chappell ruled against the agency in Illumina's (ILMN.O) acquisition of Grail (GRAL.O), Khan and commissioners overturned the decision and the case is now before an appeals court.
* If the FTC wins, the companies can also appeal to the commission to overturn the decision and, if needed, take the case to an appeals court.
Reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington Editing by Matthew Lewis
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