According to sources familiar with the matter, Microsoft should get a warning on the acquisition of Activision Blizzard, on the part of European regulators. This could have an impact on the transaction.
New lawsuits in Europe against Microsoft?
According to Reutersthe European Commission is preparing a “ charge sheet in which its members intend to present their concerns re the acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft. The Redmond firm should receive this note in the coming weeks. The European Union’s antitrust watchdog set for April 11 the deadline for its decision on the operation.
For its part, Microsoft is trying to play the game of the regulators and declares to continue to ” work with the European Commission to address all their concerns “. The company assures that its only objective is to ” bring more games to more people, and this deal with Activision Blizzard will help us achieve that goal “.
This acquisition was justified by the American software giant and the manufacturer of the Xbox to better compete with world leaders : Tencent and Sony. As within the Union, American and British regulators have expressed their concerns. The Federal Trade Commission even took legal action to block the operation. If the FTC goes all the way, it will be the biggest operation carried out by Lina Khan since his arrival at the head of the Commission.
Informal discussions on concessions from Microsoft are likely underway. However, the European competition authority says it wants to send its indictment at all costs. Last month, Microsoft entered into a 10-year agreement with Nintendo so that Call of Duty remains available on the brand’s consoles.
The American company said it was open to a similar agreement with Sony, which is critical of this acquisition. Indeed, Call of Duty is one of the flagship games of the PlayStation. Brad Smith, Vice President of Microsoft believes that ” our acquisition will allow more players to experience Call of Duty than ever before. It’s good for competition and good for consumers. “.
In a column published by the wall street journalBrad Smith goes further and explains that ” the anti-competitive risk mentioned by Sony is that Microsoft stops offering Call Of Duty on the PlayStation, but this would be economically irrational. A major part of Call Of Duty’s revenue comes from PlayStation game sales “.