Microsoft cleared the biggest hurdle. A California judge has now granted the company permission to complete the proposed acquisition of Activision-Blizzard.
About a year and a half ago, Microsoft announced that it wanted to take over the game publisher Activision Blizzard for a total of 69 billion US dollars. Since then, the company has had to deal with various regulators who feared that the deal could give Microsoft too much market power. After all, this would mean that various major brands such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush would move into the already bulging portfolio of the Redmond company.
The US Trade Commission FTC turned out to be the biggest critic. She went to court and was even able to obtain an injunction against the takeover. Now the legal proceedings came to an end after a few days of negotiations – in favor of Microsoft.
The main reason for the positive verdict was the many concessions that Microsoft made to other publishers. “Microsoft has committed in writing, publicly and in court to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation on par with Xbox for 10 years. It struck an agreement with Nintendo to bring Call of Duty to the Switch. And it has struck multiple deals to bring Activision content to various cloud gaming services for the first time.”
Xbox boss Phil Spencer is pleased with the verdict. He tweeted: “We are grateful to the court for ruling in our favor so quickly. The evidence has shown that the Activision Blizzard deal is good for the industry and that the FTC’s claims about console switching, multi-game subscription services and the cloud do not reflect the reality of the gaming market.”
Now the deal is blocked only by the competition authority in the UK. A corresponding hearing will take place on July 28. But even if Microsoft cannot assert itself there, the takeover is likely to take place anyway. There would then only have to be special regulations for the sale of the games in Great Britain.
What: The Verge