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EU Questions Microsoft’s UK Commitments For Blizzard Deal

 |  September 12, 2023

Microsoft’s proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard has hit yet another hurdle. EU competition regulators are now asking Microsoft’s rivals and customers whether they are affected by the US tech giant’s plans to gain approval from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority.

Sources close to the matter revealed that the European Commission had cleared the deal in May following Microsoft’s agreement to license popular Activision games such as ‘Call of Duty’ to rival game-streaming platforms. Since then, the EU antitrust watchdog has sent out emails to companies requesting feedback.

“EU competition regulators are asking Microsoft’s rivals and customers whether they are affected by the US tech giant’s proposals to gain UK approval for its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard,” a source close to the matter stated.

The Commission declined to comment on the emails, reiterating that it was closely monitoring developments in the UK and assessing any potential impact on its own case.

Related: EU Prepares Microsoft Antitrust Probe: Sources

Microsoft had attempted to assuage competition fears in the UK by offering to sell its cloud-streaming rights to Ubisoft Entertainment. However, the proposal was rejected by the Competition and Markets Authority.

The Commission said it was continuing to assess any potential impact of Microsoft’s proposal on its own case. Sources told Reuters that an EU investigation looks unlikely, citing how Microsoft had structured its CMA proposal to ensure compliance with EU remedies.

The proposed Activision Blizzard acquisition is the latest in a string of big-ticket mergers being scrutinised in Europe. Regardless of the outcome, it signals a hardening stance from competition authorities on ensuring that tech giants do not gain significant market share in the digital world.