Microsoft will have to face Europe to acquire Activision

The ambitious acquisition of Activision-Blizzard by Microsoft continues to be fraught with pitfalls. This time, it is the European Commission that threatens.

Definitely, Microsoft has all the trouble in the world to achieve its ends, since the firm of Bill Gates has announced that it wants to buy Activision-Blizzard for 69 billion dollars. An extremely costly and wide-ranging maneuver that could completely upset the video game industry (in the same way that Disney’s acquisition of Fox changed a lot of things for the world of cinema). Faced with such an offensive, many barriers have risen and still stand.

In November 2022, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ruled against Microsoft’s takeover bid. In short, the American state thus disapproved of the takeover of Activision-Blizzard, which would give the IT multinational a massive advantage over all its competitors. By arming itself with licenses such as World of Warcraft, Diablobut also and mostly) call of duty, Microsoft would become a colossal adversary – perhaps too much. The consequences of this takeover have worried the United Kingdom and the European Union, with whom negotiations do not seem to be going well. Today, the European Commission is considering taking action against Microsoft.

you are not ready

heist of the century

We learned at the start of 2023 that the English government has decided to deepen its investigation into the transaction until next April. Sufficient time to still stop the marriage of the two companies: if anyone opposes this union, let him speak out now or remain silent forever! That’s kind of the idea. Thereby, Sony (Microsoft’s most obvious rival) has recently been joined by Google and NVIDIA in its concerns. The two companies would not be reassured by the turn of events either and would thus have provided information to the FTC to thwart Microsoft.

More and more balls therefore weigh in the balance against the Xbox manufacturer, even though some countries (such as Brazil) have already validated the operation. Alongside American and English procedures, Europe begins to manifest itself in an even more hostile way. According to Reutersthe European Commission would not be able to find a satisfactory arrangement with Microsoft and could plan to submit its objection to this acquisition, at the end of the period set by the English investigation, and in accordance with its antitrust legislation.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2: PicturesStart of antitrust operations

Since 1890, antitrust laws have condemned unfair business competition. The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union prohibits this kind of practice (via its article 101 and 102). It therefore has every right to oppose this merger, if it considers it to threaten the balance of the market. However (and this is what Microsoft will retain), nothing has yet been firmly declared. Despite all the fears expressed, the firm probably knows that it is facing tough negotiations rather than a real impasse.

Manufacturer Xbox told Reuters: We continue to work with the European Commission to resolve all its issues. Our goal is to bring as much gaming to as many people as possible, and this transaction will allow us to achieve that goal.”

Overwatch: pictureMonopoly vigilantes!

Game over

So be reassured since Microsoft does not actually have monetary objectives, but acts out of pure benevolence for the human race. It is therefore likely that once the FTC, the CMA and Europe have understood the nobility of their cause, everything will be settled immediately. Obviously, Microsoft is going to have to play it extremely tight. The stakes are high for the multinational, so it will have to reach an agreement with all the parties concerned and will have to give important guarantees so that in the end, the green giant can triumph.

The pressure exerted by Europe, like the other countries, therefore has no concrete impact for the moment (except perhaps on the stock market, which remains a significant weapon for tipping the negotiations). The true verdict and the final ax would thus fall around April 11, the date on which all the countries and major players in the transaction will unanimously (or not) validate the takeover.

Diablo IV: Pictures“My dream is for everyone to have fun. Everyone’s happiness is my goal.”

If, by then, Microsoft has managed to convince everyone of its very healthy intentions, Sony may begin to really worry. Manufacturer Xbox has so far guaranteed that License call of duty would stay at least 10 years on the PlayStation (which is a ridiculous amount of time by industry standards), but will still deliver a murderous blow to its rival.

As a reminder, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II is the best-selling game in the United States (according to NDP) in 2022before Elden Ring. Now imagine those sales in months for Sony. Yes, a game of Monopoly may last a very long time, but in the end there is only one winner.

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