Monday, March 6

Activision: EU regulators may approve Microsoft’s Activision deal by April 25: Report

Microsoft announced its plans to acquire Call of Duty maker Activision Bizzard in a $69 billion deal in January 2022. Ever since the tech giant announced the biggest deal in the gaming industry, it has been under the scanner of several regulatory watchdogs across various countries. Among the investigations from various institutions, the EU was also one of the regulatory bodies that also scrutinised the deal. According to a report by Reuters, Microsoft is now expected to secure EU antitrust approval for the gaming deal. The report also mentions that Microsoft’s decision to offer licensing deals to its rivals helped the company “to clear a major hurdle.” Microsoft announced this deal to take on major players Tencent and Sony in the growing video gaming market. With this deal, the company also wants to venture into the metaverse which is a virtual online world where people can work, play and socialise.
More details about the Microsoft Activision deal
The European Commission which is also a part of the EU is likely to announce its decision on the Microsoft-Activision deal by April 25. The report also claims that the EU might not even ask Microsoft to sell assets to win its approval. he EU competition enforcer has declined to share any comment.
Apart from the licensing deals for rivals, the company may also have to offer other ‘behavioural remedies’ to reduce concerns of other parties than Sony, the report adds. These remedies usually refer to the merged company’s behaviour towards its rivals in the upcoming days.
Microsoft plans for Call of Duty franchise
Last month, Microsoft President Brad Smith said that the company is ready to offer rivals licensing deals to address antitrust concerns. However, it announced its decision about not to sell Activision’s “Call of Duty” franchise. Smith claimed that it was not feasible to carve out one game or a slice of Activision and alienate it from the rest.
Microsoft said it was “committed to offering effective and easily enforceable solutions that address the European Commission’s concerns.”

A company spokesperson said, “Our commitment to grant long-term 100% equal access to Call of Duty to Sony, Steam, NVIDIA and others preserves the deal’s benefits to gamers and developers and increases competition in the market.”
Recently, Microsoft has also signed 10-year licensing deals with Nintendo and Nvidia to bring Call of Duty to their gaming platforms. however, these agreements come with the conditions of a green light for the Activision deal.
The deal faces regulatory blockades in the UK, where the country’s competition agency has suggested Microsoft let go of Call of Duty to address its concerns. Meanwhile, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has also asked a judge to block the deal.

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