EU antitrust regulators have extended the deadline for deciding on Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision until April 25th, according to a filing from the European Commission. The $69 billion deal, announced by Microsoft in January last year, aims to strengthen its competition with Tencent and Sony. However, the acquisition has faced regulatory obstacles in Europe, Britain, and the United States. Microsoft is expected to propose remedies to address the concerns of the EU competition enforcer.
In an attempt to secure approval for the acquisition, Microsoft recently entered a 10-year agreement with Nvidia to bring Activision games to its gaming platform. Despite opposition from regulators and competitors like Sony, this move may provide reassurance by offering consumers more options for accessing Microsoft-controlled games. However, skepticism remains among global regulators regarding the acquisition.
In February, Britain expressed concerns that the deal could negatively impact gamers by reducing competition between Xbox and PlayStation, leading to higher prices, limited choices, and decreased innovation. Sony, a major opponent of the Microsoft-Activision merger, previously stated that it would be detrimental to competition, the gaming industry, and gamers themselves.
In addition to Sony and Nvidia, other companies including Google have expressed their concerns about the deal to the FTC. Microsoft has promised to maintain Call of Duty on Sony’s PlayStation. This popular first-person shooter franchise continues to thrive, with the latest release generating $1 billion in sales within its first 10 days in October.
Microsoft emphasizes that the acquisition is not solely focused on Call of Duty. By purchasing Activision, the company aims to enhance its growth in mobile, PC, and cloud gaming, as well as consoles, enabling it to compete against Tencent and Sony effectively.
Last month, Microsoft President Brad Smith and other executives led a delegation to a closed hearing with EU antitrust regulators. Their goal was to convince regulators that the acquisition would promote healthy competition. Activision Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick represented the company during the hearing.
© Thomson Reuters 2023
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