Antitrust regulators worldwide have intensely scrutinized the pending deal from Microsoft to purchase games publishing titan Activision Blizzard. However, Reuters reports that the EU’s European Commission will likely approve the record-breaking $69 billion acquisition.
A green light from Europe’s antitrust watchdog is a massive win and likely means other regulators worldwide will follow suit. Additionally, Kotaku reports that the Xbox makers could have made progress with the Federal Trade Commission.
The European Commission could approve the Microsoft Activision deal with little to no repercussions.
Sources familiar with the matter say the European Commission is considering approval without requiring Microsoft to sell off assets. The company’s long-term licensing deals with Nintendo and Nvidia seemingly convinced the regulatory body to approve the merger. However, after gaining approval, the Xbox maker might have to agree to other terms once merged with Activision. The Commission has an April 25 deadline to announce its final decision on the acquisition.
However, Forbes reports the buyout still faces significant hurdles across the pond. Microsoft’s extended licensing agreements have not convinced the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). In addition, Axios reports Microsoft says the CMA overestimates the potential impact of making Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox and PC.
Activision Blizzard’s seminal first-person shooter franchise is the crux of the entire deal. Microsoft said it would happily offer long-term licensing agreements to appease antitrust regulators, of which Nintendo and Nvidia took advantage. However, according to Reuters, the company refuses to sell off the long-running series.
Microsoft might have gained ground with the Federal Trade Commission.
The FTC ordered Sony to cough up documents on exclusivity deals to keep games off of Xbox Games Pass. The FTC’s chief administrative judge, D. Michael Chappell, could have played an Uno reverse card on the PlayStation maker. Microsoft offered Sony a similar deal to those made with Nintendo and Nvidia, which they called “inadequate” and shot down.
However, information regarding Sony’s exclusivity deals to keep games off of Xbox Games Pass is now fair game. This decision marks a massive shift in the FTC’s one-time opposition to the Microsoft deal to purchase Activision Blizzard.