Microsoft offers EU concessions for Activision Blizzard bid nod

Published March 19th, 2023 - 07:45 GMT
Microsoft Activision Blizzard concessions to EU
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ALBAWABA — Microsoft on Friday offered formal commitments to the European Union antitrust authorities in its bid to persuade the bloc to approve its takeover of video game giant Activision Blizzard.


Last year, Microsoft launched a $69-billion move to create the world's third biggest gaming company by revenue by purchasing the owner of hit games "Candy Crush" and "Call Of Duty", triggering antitrust concerns.


The European Commission, E.U. executive arm and the bloc's powerful antitrust authority, had been due to make a decision before April 25 but said it will now extend this deadline until May 22.


The commitments the company is legally prepared to make have not been made public, but the regulator will now need to “market test” the remedies and get feedback from Microsoft’s rivals and customers.


Microsoft has recently agreed to give its rivals access to games, including the smash hit "Call Of Duty" franchise.


"We have stood behind our promise to bring Call of Duty to more gamers on more devices by entering into agreements to bring the game to the Nintendo console and cloud game streaming services offered by Nvidia, Boosteroid and Ubitus," a Microsoft spokesperson said.


"We are now backing up that promise with binding commitments to the European Commission, which will ensure that this deal benefits gamers into the future," the spokesperson added.


Microsoft has maintained the takeover will benefit customers and dismissed concerns about competition, even though rival Sony strongly opposes the merger.


The company is "more optimistic" about the deal's approval after Microsoft Executive Brad Smith was in Brussels last month for talks with E.U. officials, but the deal faces a big hurdle to get British regulators on board.


The United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority, which is to present its final report on or before April 26, said in provisional findings last month that the takeover could significantly harm competition and consumer choice.



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