Microsoft would like to take over the traditional developer studio Activision Blizzard. However, the European Union is not at all enthusiastic about this. Will the takeover be put a stop to?
Warning by the EU threatens
Activision Blizzard is considered one of the world’s largest developer studios. It gained fame through iconic game series such as Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo. All the greater was the astonishment when it became known in January 2022 that Microsoft would like to buy the game developer for just under $70 billion. This was clearly a declaration of war on the PlayStation 5, but it wasn’t just Sony’s competitors that were snubbed by the plans. Also on political and legal level one showed up astonished up to shocked. This continues to this day. According to a report from the news agency Reuters, the EU Commission wants to issue a warning about the plans in the next few days. The focus is on the antitrust concerns that one has in the context of the takeover by the giant tech company.
It is not yet known what exactly the Commission will address in the warning. However, one can speculate that it is the scope of Activision Blizzard on the video games market that plays a major role here. After all, the publisher does not only own Warcraft, Starcraft and Co. In addition to the Blizzard classics, Activision’s Call of Duty, one of the most important game franchises in the entire market, is also part of the deal. The EU is possibly concerned that this could illegally interfere with competition. It is not only in the EU that the takeover is viewed ambivalently. In the U.S., where Activision Blizzard and Microsoft are headquartered, a complaint from the competition authorities is apparently also imminent.
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EU and U.S. must approve purchase by Microsoft
Really, meanwhile, Microsoft does not see many supporters on its side. The tech company has so far only been able to get approval from Brazil, Chile, Serbia and Saudi Arabia when it comes to its intentions to buy Activision Blizzard. However, that does the tech group precious little good. Only when the USA and Europe give their consent to the takeover will the deal be in the bag. Microsoft itself, meanwhile, is probably exerting a lot of pressure. After all, the goal of the Redmond, Washington-based company is to complete the purchase as quickly as possible.
In order to achieve this goal, Microsoft has probably done its best to make concessions to the EU. However, it was apparently not possible to counteract the antitrust warning. Microsoft will therefore probably not be able to implement its original plan of a final takeover in the summer of 2023. It is questionable whether the purchase can be realized at all or fails due to antitrust law. Nvidia and Sony would certainly be happy about this. After all, the two have opposed a possible takeover together with Google.