With a denial from the U.K. and now an approval from the EU, Microsoft’s acquisition plans are a toss-up.

McKenna Morgan, Content Editor

May 15, 2023

2 Min Read
Activision Blizzard logo.
Activision Blizzard logo.Activision Blizzard

License Global’s Ben Roberts previously reported on the U.K. Competitions and Markets Authority’s (CMA) move to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, owners of “Call of Duty,” “Candy Crush,” “World of Warcraft” and “Overwatch.”  

Bobby Kotick, chief executive officer, Activision Blizzard, released a statement to his team saying they would be working to remove the block. 

“Alongside Microsoft, we can and will contest this decision, and we’ve already begun the work to appeal to the U.K. Competition Appeals Tribunal,” says Kotick. “We’re confident in our case because the facts are on our side; this deal is good for competition.”   

Now, in a boost to Microsoft’s plan, regulators in the European Union have approved Microsoft’s $68.7 billion acquisition proposal. The EU’s executive arm, The European Commission, said Microsoft has remedies for concerns about cloud gaming and antitrust laws. These remedies include royalty-free licenses to cloud gaming platforms to stream Activision games if a consumer had purchased them, and they would be able to stream those titles on any cloud gaming platform of their choosing. 

Microsoft has been growing its gaming business recently, with the announcement of Xbox PX games coming to Nvidia’s cloud gaming service. The company also inked a 10-year deal with Nintendo to bring “Call of Duty” to its platforms, but only if this Activision Blizzard deal goes through. 

Related:Why the U.K. Government is Blocking Microsoft’s Acquisition of Activision Blizzard

With all these deals, regulators are concerned Microsoft could distort competition in the gaming sector by keeping all the titles owned by Activision Blizzard on only Microsoft platforms. Console gaming and cloud gaming could be altered globally due to Microsoft’s power in the industry (you can read more about cloud and console gaming in relation to this deal here). 

However, the EU’s investigation concluded there would be no reduction in competition since Sony still has power with its Playstation console and games. With these findings, the EU approved the deal, but Microsoft still has a way to go for the acquisition to close. 

Will the deal go through with Microsoft’s proposed solutions and a stamp of approval from the European Union? Three markets must approve the agreement for it to go through: The EU, the U.K. and the U.S. With approval from the EU, a denial from the U.K. and no decision yet from the U.S., the deal is a toss-up. Will the U.K. reverse its decisions? Will the U.S. approve? License Global will continue to report on the acquisition as news develops. 

Related:Video Games: Licensing’s 1 Up

About the Author(s)

McKenna Morgan

Content Editor, License Global

McKenna Morgan is Content Editor for License Global. Based in the Santa Monica office, McKenna specializes in coverage involving non-profits, beauty and cosmetics, health and wellness, new and social media and entertainment licensing.

When McKenna isn’t covering the latest licensing news, she spends her time attending live music shows and finding her next travel destination.

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