It seems that Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is one step closer to being a done deal. According to a report by Reuters, anti-trust regulators in the European Union are expected to approve the $68.7 billion acquisition as soon as Monday, May 15. This is earlier than expected, as the European Commission had previously stated that a decision would be delivered by May 22.
Microsoft Prevails in the EU
An approval from the European Commission is not surprising given Microsoft President Brad Smith’s previous statements. Smith has stated that regulators in the EU have been more open to discussing the deal compared to those in the UK, and that the EU is a more attractive place to do business.
While the UK’s Competition & Markets Authority decided to block the deal last month, citing concerns about the cloud gaming market, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard have hired legal teams to appeal the decision. Activision Blizzard has even hired a lawyer who previously represented Queen Elizabeth II. In the meantime, the US’s Federal Trade Commission will host its first evidentiary hearing on August 2, 2023, so this case could take a while to resolve.
Microsoft’s buyout of Activision Blizzard has already been approved in several other countries, including Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Serbia. A decision from New Zealand’s Commerce Commission is due on June 9.
The acquisition represents the biggest buyout in video game history and is one of the largest acquisitions by purchase price of all time, across all industries, around the world. It is a significant move that could shift the landscape of the gaming industry in the years to come.
EA CEO Comments on Acquisition
Despite the magnitude of the acquisition, EA’s CEO, Andrew Wilson, has stated that Microsoft’s proposed bid to buy Activision Blizzard “doesn’t matter” to their company. Speaking at a Morgan Stanley technology conference, Wilson stated that EA plans on remaining focused on their own strategic goals and creating new gaming experiences for their players.
As the acquisition moves forward, all eyes will be on the regulatory process and any subsequent legal action. But for now, it seems that Microsoft is one step closer to acquiring one of the most significant companies in the gaming industry.