Thursday, October 5, 2023

EU approves 68 billion takeover of Microsoft – immediately a stern comment from Britain


The European Union has given its approval to the merger between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard King.

The European Union’s competition authority has given its approval to a major transaction in the games industry, in which Microsoft will buy Activision Blizzard King for $68.7 billion (about 63 billion euros).

At the same time, the Competition Authority outlined that Microsoft should offer competing cloud game services free licenses for Activision Blizzard’s games for the next ten years.

The European Union is the first of the three major competition authorities (EU, UK, USA) to give a green signal to the mammoth deal, reports The New York Times.

Britain announced in late April that it would freeze the trade. With these possibilities, the United States Trade Commission’s position will not be known until August–September, but the commission announced in December 2022 that it would attempt to block the trade.

The Japanese Competition Authority has also given its approval to the deal. The main competitor of Microsoft is Sony Japanese.

Read more: UK blocks £68.7bn takeover of Microsoft

The merger between the two giants has been a headwind for one obvious reason: It would vastly improve the position of a major player in the games market, namely Microsoft.

Microsoft is a major player in the gaming industry, as the Windows operating system is a favorite of PC gamers and Xbox also has a strong hold on the console market. In particular, there has been concern that Microsoft could limit the availability of favorite games like Call of Duty on competing platforms.

The British Competition Authority blocked the deal due to concerns about cloud gaming. Microsoft is the biggest name in cloud gaming with its Xbox Game Pass service. The companies have appealed against the British authority’s decision.

The British competition authority CMA has already had time to respond to the recent EU announcement. The CMA tweeted that the previous policy remains valid, meaning trade is still blocked for the Kingdom. There is still cause for concern with regard to cloud game services and their supply.

The mega-deal was to be completed in June 2023, but due to the decision of the British Competition Authority, the schedule was changed. Representatives of Microsoft and Activision Blizzard King have repeatedly stated that the largest deal in the history of the gaming industry has yet to be completed.

Among others, the Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo, Hearthstone and Candy Crush game series will be transferred to Microsoft’s ownership in the deal. With the deal, Microsoft will become the third largest company in the gaming industry.

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