Microsoft's $69B Bid To Acquire Activision Blizzard Receives European Union Approval

Zinger Key Points
  • EU approves Microsoft's $68.7B Activision Blizzard acquisition after concessions addressing competition concerns in cloud gaming.
  • Microsoft still faces challenges in convincing other regulators and competitors, including Sony and the U.S. FTC.

The European Union's antitrust regulator has given its approval Monday to Microsoft Corporation's MSFT proposed $68.7-billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard Inc. ATVI.

The EU Decision: The decision came after Microsoft made specific concessions aimed at addressing concerns regarding competition in the cloud gaming market. These concessions ensure that rival companies would continue to have access to games developed by Activision, including the immensely popular "Call of Duty" franchise.

See Also: Activision Blizzard In 'Pannick' Mode, Taps Queen Elizabeth II's Former Lawyer For CMA Appeal

"The approval is conditional on full compliance with the commitments offered by Microsoft," the European Commission stated.

"The commitments fully address the competition concerns identified by the Commission and represent a significant improvement for cloud gaming as compared to the current situation."

Under the proposed remedies, Microsoft offers a 10-year free license to European Economic Area consumers, enabling them to stream all current and future Activision Blizzard PC and console games through their preferred cloud game streaming services.

This license extends to EEA-based cloud game streaming providers, allowing them to offer their users the ability to stream Activision Blizzard games.

What It Means For The Merger: This news offers a glimmer of hope for the proposed deal after U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority blocked the acquisition on April 26.

In a press release, the regulator concluded: "The Commission's in-depth market investigation indicated that Microsoft would not be able to harm rival consoles and rival multi-game subscription services. At the same time, it confirmed that Microsoft could harm competition in the distribution of games via cloud game streaming services and that its position in the market for PC operating systems would be strengthened."

While the EU approval signals progress, Microsoft still faces an arduous task of persuading other regulators and key competitors, including Sony, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.K.'s CMA, that its acquisition of Activision Blizzard will not hinder competition.

Read Next: Microsoft's Profitability At Risk With 'Call of Duty' Exclusivity, UK Regulator Focuses On Cloud Gaming Monopoly

Image credits: Anton Vierietin and FellowNeko on Shutterstock

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Posted In: GamingM&ANewsEurozoneTop StoriesMarketsGeneralEUEuropean Unionvideo games
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