Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, has expressed the sentiment that his company’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard will secure regulatory approval.
Microsoft’s buyout of Activision Blizzard came as a shock to many in the gaming industry when it was announced earlier this year. The deal, worth $68.7 billion, will be the biggest one the game industry has ever witnessed if it is successful with a massive influence across the length and breadth of the industry. The process is ongoing and is expected to conclude on June 30, 2023.
With 98% of the company’s shareholders voting in support of the deal, it would seem that Microsoft has a clear path to take over the company. However, that is not the case as the proposed acquisition is under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The FTC is investigating the deal for insider trading as well as whether it breaches anti-trust regulations. On the other hand, the CMA is investigating the acquisition’s possible impact on market competition in the UK. According to the CMA, the acquisition "may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within a market or markets in the United Kingdom."
However, Nadella has expressed confidence that the deal will push through. During a recent interview with Bloomberg, Nadella stated, "Of course, any acquisition of this size will go through scrutiny, but we feel very, very confident that we’ll come out."
Given the fact that Microsoft recently acquired ZeniMax Media with no plans to stop buying studios anytime soon, those who fear the company will monopolize the industry certainly have a point. However, Nadella believes his company’s acquisition will do the opposite: that is, promote competition. In his interview with Bloomberg, he stated that his company’s moves are the result of Sony’s acquisition of its own video game companies.
Nevertheless, Microsoft is taking the necessary steps to ensure the acquisition doesn't flout anti-trust rules. For instance, Microsoft Gaming CEO, Phil Spencer, recently claimed that Call of Duty will remain a multi-platform experience for many years to come. However, this doesn’t satisfy PlayStation’s CEO, Jim Ryan, who believes that Microsoft’s current proposal is inadequate.
By the way, if Microsoft’s proposed acquisition falls through due to breaches of anti-trust laws, the company will be forced to pay Activision Blizzard the sum of $3 billion as compensation.