The most important news of the year thus far has been Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which might cost up to $68.7 billion. On Wednesday, the U.K.’s competition authority launched an inquiry into Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. This investigation marks Europe’s first major antitrust review to examine the $68.7 billion acquisition announced in January.
Microsoft and Activision Merger Under Investigation
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is already reviewing the deal, and now the U.K.’s similar agency will do the same. It was announced that the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), an antitrust watchdog similar to the FTC, will start an investigation into Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard takeover. The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority stated that its review would examine whether the agreement might undermine competition and result in worse consumer outcomes, such as higher costs, lower quality, or fewer options.
The acquisition will significantly impact the $190 billion video game industry because it will give Microsoft ownership of successful franchises such as Call of Duty, Candy Crush, and Warcraft. Microsoft also considers the acquisition will help it in its quest to create a metaverse, a fictitious network of huge virtual worlds. In addition, if the acquisition is successful, Microsoft has emphasized that it will retain Call of Duty on PlayStation.
Following the regulator’s announcement, a two-week consultation process will begin, when anyone interested in the deal can submit comments. A “phase one” decision is made on September 1 after closing, but the CMA may delay this deadline if more time is needed.
Also, the publisher’s employees are dissatisfied with the CEO, demanding that CEO Bobby Kotick step down. Microsoft previously said Kotick would stay as CEO of Activision until the deal closes. In short, if all goes well, we expect the deal to close by 2023 and for Xbox to embrace new studios, including Activision, Blizzard, and King.