Microsoft's Pending Activision Blizzard Deal Faces New EU Antitrust Challenge: Report

Zinger Key Points
  • E.U. watchdog intends to issue a charge sheet to Microsoft outlining concerns over the acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
  • The deal has seen widespread scrutiny from U.S., EU and U.K. regulators, and some Microsoft peers have objected to the deal.

Microsoft Corporation MSFT was hit with another setback Monday over its bid to acquire Activision Blizzard, Inc ATVI, this time from the European Commission, which has concerns surrounding the deal.

Microsoft has faced ongoing scrutiny by regulators in the U.S. and overseas since announcing the $69-billion acquisition deal. On Jan. 13, Alphabet and Nvidia, two of Microsoft’s big-tech peers, joined in to raise concerns over the agreement, saying the acquisition will provide Microsoft an unfair advantage and monopoly over gaming titles.

What Happened: This latest probe, from the E.U. antitrust watchdog, could see Microsoft issued a warning after the commission finishes preparing a charge sheet outlining its objections to the deal, which will be sent to the Redmond-based company over the coming weeks, according to a Monday Reuters report. 

While there are off-the-record discussions taking place between Microsoft and the E.U. commission, the watchdog group is unlikely to allow Microsoft to solve the concerns prior to the delivery of the charge sheet, said sources who spoke to Reuters.

Despite the lack of formal negotiations, Microsoft said it is “continuing to work with the European Commission to address any marketplace concerns. Our goal is to bring more games to more people, and this deal will further that goal.”

What’s Next: In December, Microsoft announced a 10-year deal to bring Activision Blizzard’s “Call of Duty” game to Nintendo, but has yet to win over Sony to bring the first-person shooter game to PlayStation. Sony, like Alphabet and Nvidia, opposes the acquisition.

If and once Microsoft’s latest bid closes, it would mark the tech giant's largest acquisition to date. Other companies Microsoft has acquired include LinkedIn, Skype and ZeniMax Media.

Read Next: Xbox Goes Green: Revolutionary Update Helps Users Significantly Reduce Carbon Footprint

Photo via Shutterstock. 

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