Microsoft‘s proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard has the industry discussing the future implications such a major deal could pose. Progress has been glacial but at least now a date has been set for EU antitrust regulators to decide whether or not to clear the deal.
The deadline is set for November 8th 2022, however if the findings from the first phase of the investigation raise major concerns it is possible that a second four-month-long phase could be opened. This will enable a deeper dive into the rippling effects that the merger may create.
During this process, the EU antitrust regulators will be assessing whether the merger would have a significant impact on industry competition. The acquisition will be analysed by regulators to ensure that it does not create a concentration of market power or form a type of monopoly. This analysis of market impact is to ensure that businesses continue to operate efficiently and keep prices down, whilst product quality remains high.
To be or not to be?
In September the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which acts as the UK’s competition regulator, conducted its own investigation into the merger. This was expanded into a second phase as the deal highlighted concerns that PlayStation may not be able to keep up with the competition, given that Microsoft would gain ownership of the massively popular Call of Duty franchise.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer addressed these concerns, stating that Call of Duty will continue to release on PlayStation “for several more years”, however Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan rebutted that the proposal was “inadequate on many levels”.
If the deal goes ahead it will stand as the biggest acquisition the gaming industry has seen. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently expressed confidence that the company will receive approval from regulators and be able to close the deal.