Microsoft/Activision: EU Goes Against The Grain By Waving Through $69B Takeover

The EU’s antitrust regulator has gone against the grain of its U.S. and UK counterparts by waving through Microsoft’s proposed $69B takeover of Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard.

In a surprise decision unveiled in the past few minutes, the European Commission said it had approved under EU Merger Regulation the takeover after Microsoft addressed its competition concerns.

The concerns have surrounded competition in the cloud gaming market and have been cited by both the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and UK Competition & Markets Authority. The European Commission, however, said Microsoft’s commitments “fully address the competition concerns identified by the Commission and represent a significant improvement for cloud gaming as compared to the current situation.”

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Microsoft's $68.7BN Takeover Of 'Call Of Duty' Maker Activision Blizzard Blocked By UK Regulator

Microsoft’s commitments involve a free license to consumers in the European Economic Area (EEA) that would allow them to stream Activision games for which they have a license, and a corresponding free license to cloud game streaming service providers to allow EEA-based gamers to stream any Activision Blizzard PC and console game.

The move follows an in-depth investigation after the Commission’s preliminary investigation found Microsoft’s move could harm competition in the distribution of console and PC video games, and in the supply of PC operating systems.

Microsoft now needs to continue trying to prove to the U.S. and UK regulators that the deal will not constrain competition.

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