Thursday, November 30, 2023

Europe will not investigate the purchase of Activision Blizzard again, and Microsoft breathes

Microsoft aims to close the acquisition of Activision Blizzard this week, once it receives final approval from the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The good news for those from Redmond is that, beyond this, they would have evaded a new investigation by the European Commission.

As reported BloombergEurope has ruled out re-investigating the acquisition of the video game company, despite the changes made by Microsoft to the original agreement to please the British authorities.

Had it been subjected to new scrutiny by European Union regulators, the Activision Blizzard purchase would have suffered a new delay of several months before its completion. Let us remember that next October 18 is the deadline between the parties to end the matter, although Satya Nadella’s men hope to complete it this Friday the 13th.

The European Commission has not yet spoken publicly about it, but sources Bloomberg they maintain that Microsoft will not suffer new setbacks on that front. This does not imply that the authorities do not closely follow everything related to the possible approval of the transaction for almost 69 billion dollars in the United Kingdom, or the potential impact that the changes made to the agreement could have on the European bloc.

The European Commission will not investigate the changes made to the Activision Blizzard purchase agreement

The European Commission gave its approval to Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard last May. Europe was, in fact, the first of the three major markets to support the acquisition. Subsequently, those from Redmond won the lawsuit with which the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) tried to block it in the United States; while the United Kingdom originally vetoed the agreement, although it later returned to the negotiating table.

The crucial element in this story is that Microsoft modified the purchase agreement considerably in search of British approval. A change that is mainly evident in the section of cloud gamingwith the sale of the rights to Activision Blizzard games to Ubisoft.

It is worth mentioning that this agreement is valid in almost all markets, except in the countries that make up the European Economic Area. This is because, in order to receive approval for the purchase of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft committed to the European Commission to grant European users who purchase its titles a free license to play them via streaming on any cloud platform of their choice.

Changes in cloud strategy

Brad Smithpresident of the Redmond, explained at the time that EU regulators also required them to automatically license Activision Blizzard’s popular games to streaming services. cloud gaming rivals. “This will be applied globally and will allow millions of consumers around the world to play these games on any device they choose,” he said.

The latter was what, at the time, generated speculation about a possible new investigation by the European Commission. After all, Ubisoft’s subsequent appearance on the scene changed the landscape of a global implementation. Now, it is that company that handles the licensing of Activision Blizzard games for streaming outside the European Union. A situation that could be problematic for European cloud platforms that wish to expand to other territories.

Even so, everything indicates that Microsoft will not have to respond to new regulatory inquiries in this regard. It only remains to be seen if he really manages to complete the long-awaited acquisition of the Californian firm before the end of this week.


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