A federal appeals court denied a Federal Trade Commission request to stop the $68.7 billion Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard today.

The denial could clear the way for the deal to close in the next few days.

A three-judge appeals court panel denied the motion for injunctive relief filed this week by the Federal Trade Commission, which sought to block the merge on antitrust grounds. There is still one more hurdle the companies face with the antitrust regulatory body in the United Kingdom.

But the U.S. agency was the biggest obstacle. The FTC can appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the odds of the nation’s highest court intervening are pretty low. The deal is set to close on July 18. If it doesn’t Microsoft might have to pay a $3 billion penalty to Activision Blizzard.

“We appreciate the Ninth Circuit’s swift response denying the FTC’s motion to further delay the deal. This brings us another step closer to the finish line in this marathon of global regulatory reviews,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president, in a statement.

The FTC filed to block the deal in December 2022. But after arguing its case before a federal judge, it failed to convince the court that the acquisition of the Call of Duty maker would harm consumers. In the meantime, Microsoft has pledged to make Call of Duty available on other platforms for at least 10 years.

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