Microsoft faces a hefty fine if the Activision Blizzard acquisition fails

If the FTC doesn't like Microsoft's nearly $70 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard, it will still have to pay Activision $3 billion.


Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard is the tech giant's second biggest investment in three years. After acquiring ZeniMax Media and effectively sealing Starfield and the next The Elder Scrolls' game as Xbox exclusives, Microsoft is looking to do the same with the likes of Call of Duty, Overwatch, Diablo, Crash Bandicoot, Starcraft, and more. But, while the ZeniMax deal went through, buying Activision Blizzard is going to be a much more fraught journey.

The Activision Blizzard deal has the potential to be the most lucrative buyout in video game history.

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According to a report from The Verge, the merger is still contingent on whether or not regulators give it the greenlight. Furthermore, even if the deal falls through due to an "injunction arising from Antitrust Laws", Microsoft will still have to pay Activision Blizzard anywhere between $2 billion to $3 billion.

The Activision Blizzard acquisition is expected to be finalized by mid-2023, but, as we've said, it's not a sure thing yet. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has become increasingly wary of the dangers of monopolies in the tech industry. You could argue that by acquiring Activision Blizzard, Microsoft will have ownership of a handful of the most popular, profitable, and iconic games in video game history.

But, the termination clause isn't as one-sided as most would believe. Microsoft will also receive a $2.27 billion payment termination fee if the company's shareholders come together to oppose the buyout.

TLDR; it is in both Microsoft's and Activision Blizzard's interest for the deal to go through.

With Activision Blizzard in the fold, Microsoft now owns two of the most profitable MMORPGs in The Elder Scrolls Online and World of Warcraft.

For what it's worth, Microsoft has done an excellent job making compromises in order to minimize any potential issues arising from the FTC's investigation. In an earlier report, Microsoft confirmed that it will honor Activision's existing deals with Sony. Then again, Microsoft will want Activision Blizzard's treasure trove of IPs on as many consoles as possible like the Nintendo Switch.

Recently, Call of Duty set a new microtransaction record despite consecutive "down" years that reportedly made high-ranking executives rethink the game's annual release slate.

In the meantime, it's business as usual over at Activision Blizzard. The publisher is believed to have "bold plans" for Warzone that might include a crossover with King Kong and Godzilla. The report comes roughly around the same time Vanguard players expressed their displeasure with the game's Season 2 Battle Pass.

Despite the acquisition, Microsoft still ranks behind Sony in terms of net worth in the gaming space.
Ray Ampoloquio
Ray is a lifelong gamer with a nose for keeping up with the latest news in and out of the gaming industry. When he's not reading, writing, editing, and playing video games, he builds and repairs computers in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter.
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