The European Union opens an in-depth investigation into the acquisition of Activision Blizzard

The European Union opens an in-depth investigation into the acquisition of Activision Blizzard

The European Commission Today it announced the results of its preliminary investigation into Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, saying its findings warrant the start of an in-depth investigation into the competitive effects of the deal.

“The Commission’s preliminary investigation shows that the deal could significantly reduce competition in the markets for the distribution of video game hardware and PC hardware, including multi-game subscription services and/or cloud game streaming services and computer operating systems,” she said.

In particular, the Committee is concerned that by acquiring Activision Blizzard, Microsoft may block access to Activision Blizzard console and PC video games, especially high-level and highly successful (so-called AAA games) such as Call of Duty. ”

Specifically, the commission said it was concerned that Microsoft would keep Activision Blizzard games away from competing consoles, or “degrade the terms and conditions for their use or access” to those games on other consoles.

He also expressed concern about the impact the deal could have on competition in the subscription and cloud streaming markets, as well as strengthening Microsoft’s control over PC operating systems by ensuring that Activision Blizzard games are distributed only through Windows operating systems.

The commission has a deadline of March 23 to conduct its in-depth investigation and issue a decision.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick addressed the decision in a letter to employees released about the company Investor Relations website. He noted that the regulatory approval process for the deal is going as expected, and spoke about approval of the deal from Brazilian regulators.

“We will continue to cooperate with the European Commission, as in the countries they represent we have many employees,” Kotik said.

“We have worked closely with Microsoft to actively engage regulators in other key countries to answer their questions and provide information to aid their review. People from all of our business units and functions have participated in this regulatory work, and I want to thank each of you for your hard work and commitment to completing this integration, Which we continue to expect to close in Microsoft’s current fiscal year ending June 2023.”

The US Federal Trade Commission and the UK Competition and Markets Authority are among the regulators around the world that have not yet approved the deal.

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