A PYMNTS Company

Microsoft’s Activision Deal Faces In-Depth Probes In EU & UK

 |  September 14, 2022

Microsoft’s $75bn acquisition of video game maker Activision Blizzard faces in-depth probes in Brussels and the UK following growing concerns the deal is anti-competitive and will exclude rivals from accessing the blockbuster game Call of Duty.

It comes as the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority is expected to launch an in-depth investigation this week after Microsoft decided not to offer any remedies atthis stage, according to two individuals with knowledge of the situation.

Earlier this month, the CMA became the first global antitrust regulator to sound the alarm over the transaction, giving Microsoft five days to come up with undertakings that would resolve its worries or face an extended “phase 2” probe.

The companies have already been in talks with regulators in Brussels since the deal was announced eight months ago, in what is known as the pre-notification stage — an indication of how scrupulous officials will be during the probe.

Regulators and others involved in the deal expect a prolonged EU investigation once Microsoft officially files its case in Brussels in the coming weeks. People familiar with the EU’s thinking say regulators will take their time to examine this deal because of its size, the nature of the buyer and the rising concerns from rivals, including Sony. “It is a big deal, a difficult deal,” said a person in Brussels familiar with the transaction. “It needs an extensive investigation.”

Want more news? Subscribe to CPI’s free daily newsletter for more headlines and updates on antitrust developments around the world.