Game news Activision takeover: Will the European regulator be ready to make its decision, Xbox can breathe?
Published on 03/03/2023 at 15:25
As the weeks go by, the backstage surrounding Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard continues to rage. The European Commission would be ready to give its consent to a deal that would not close the Redmond firm’s business.
The European Commission seems ready to give its approval
More than a year after the historic $68.7 billion deal signed between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard King, the acquisition of the former requires the approval of several commissions around the world. Since September 2022, there has been a buzz behind the scenes, with several authorities responsible for investigating antitrust compliance from this acquisition drawing their first findings. A few weeks ago, Microsoft may have taken a big step forward in this investigation by offering partnerships with other manufacturers: among these agreements is, for example, a commitment by the Redmond firm to distribute the Call of Duty saga at Nintendo for 10 years (although some observers doubt the technical Nintendo Switch compatibility). He also seduced Nvidia, which had previously opposed the deal, by promising Xbox games for PC (Xbox Game Studios and Bethesda) to appear on the GeForce Now cloud system. A duration of at least 10 years is also mentioned.
Are the initiatives close to the final blow for Sony, a major player in the video game market, strongly opposed to this acquisition? If it’s too early to tell, Microsoft seems to be on the right track with publisher agreements. In any case, we can believe in this after an article published yesterday by the Reuters news agency. According to three people familiar with the matter, the European Commission is about to give its consent to the acquisition. However, according to one of these people, other commitments will need to be put on the table:
Microsoft may also need to offer other behavioral remedies to allay the concerns of parties other than Sony.
Acquisition of Activision Microsoft: the soap opera is far from over
However, Microsoft shouldn’t claim victory in this case too soon. First of all, because the European Commission must make a decision before April 25. Like a boxing match or a tennis match where the protagonists trade blows, things can change, even if it’s worth remembering that it’s been Sony that’s been called for more recently. Jim Ryan’s firm may have made public documents classified as classified, such as agreements for exclusive rights to games or negotiations with the Federal Trade Commission (USA).
As far as this issue is concerned, it is true that other regulators can slow down this acquisition. If we have seen that the European Commission can support this, then this does not apply to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The British authorities are stubborn at the moment, as is the Federal Trade Commission. So if Microsoft allowed Microsoft to access some of Sony’s data that could be critical to their connection, it would speed up its verdict first to influence the agencies to get their data back.
Which complicates the soap opera, but also makes it much more interesting. It is possible that one of the regulatory authorities involved will completely block the deal: then Microsoft could transfer the case to the jurisdiction of the country of this very body.