Microsoft edges closer to Activision deal after EU declines new probe

Logo of US multinational technology corporation Microsoft.
Logo of US multinational technology corporation Microsoft. Copyright JOSEP LAGO/AFP
By Euronews
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Microsoft is set to acquire Activision Blizzard, known for video games such as Call of Duty or Guitar Hero. The deal won’t have to get reapproval in the EU after it was tweaked to get the go ahead in the UK.


The $69 billion deal (€65 billion) about to be signed between US tech giant Microsoft and video game holding company Activision Blizzard won’t have to be re-examined by EU authorities, Bloomberg reports.

Despite already being given the go-ahead in the EU, Microsoft had to revamp the terms of the acquisition following concerns from the UK the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which in April demanded changes to the historic deal before it could be approved.

According to the same report, the European Commission has decided that the changes imposed by UK regulating authority won’t need to be reviewed by Brussels, which approved Microsoft’s deal in May.

In doing so, the acquisition is set to be finalised in the coming days, once the CMA gives its green light.

What were the UK regulator’s concerns?

Tech-giant Microsoft’s purchase of video games giant Activision Blizzard, known for blockbuster games such as World of Warcraft, Guitar Hero, Diablo and Call of Duty, caused concern about its potential impact on innovation and fair competition.

The primary issue was whether the acquisition would stifle competition in the cloud gaming sector, where games are streamed to devices like tablets and phones, eliminating the need for expensive gaming consoles and computers.

Microsoft sells game console Xbox, as well subscriptions to its associated video game streaming service.

To overcome the issues, Microsoft has proposed to allow French game studio Ubisoft Entertainment to distribute Activision games in the cloud during the next 15 years under the revised deal.

Last month, the CMA declared that their concerns had been “substantially addressed”, signaling the deal was on track to receive antitrust approval.

When will the deal be rubber stamped?

With 40 countries having already approved the deal, including the EU, the next endorsement of the acquisition should come from the UK in the coming days.

However, Microsoft still has a crucial step ahead: convincing the US’s Federal Trade Commision (FTC).

A trial should take place in the coming weeks, following an administrative complaint against the merger.

The FTC cites concerns that “the deal would enable Microsoft to suppress competitors to its Xbox gaming consoles and its rapidly growing subscription and cloud-gaming business.”

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