For almost a year, Microsoft has tried by all means to validate its plan to take over the American video game publisher Activision Blizzard. To achieve this, the Silicon Valley giant will probably have to make some concessions to the European Union (EU), which has wondered for weeks what impact this acquisition would have on its competitors.
The European Commission has been investigating this takeover project for several weeks
In January 2022, Microsoft officially announced its plan to acquire American video game giant Activision Blizzard, known for its World of Warcraft and Call of Duty licenses, for a sum of $68 billion. Ten months later, this acquisition has been put on hold. Several supervisory authorities around the world, including the European Commission, have decided to investigate this takeover.
For the European authority, this takeover could undermine competition in the video game market, especially against Microsoft’s biggest rival, Sony. The European Commission had opened a preliminary investigation a few months ago and would have concluded that Microsoft was able to buy Activision Blizzard to drive out its competitors.
While it has given itself until the end of January 2023 to draw up a list of the various problems related to this takeover project and that a final opinion is expected in March 2023, the American company could well anticipate with a few concessions for to convince the European Union.
Microsoft will turn to its main competitor, Sony
Satya Nadella’s company would be ready to comply with special regulations to avoid any problem and thus get this takeover validated. According to information from Reuterswill Microsoft try to get closer to Sony to achieve a ten-year agreement between the two companies and thus limit anti-competitive practices.
” Sony, as an industry leader, says it is concerned about the availability of Call of Duty. But we said we were determined to make the game available on the same day on Xbox and PlayStation. We want people to have more access to games, not less “Says a spokesperson for Microsoft. Activision Blizzard’s flagship game, Call of Duty, would be available on Sony’s PlayStation console from day one for the next ten years.
Even if this strategy convinces the EU, Microsoft will still have to face the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US as well as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK. Both regulators have also opened investigations into the proposed takeover. They appear to be equally skeptical of European regulators on the matter.