EU approves Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision, clearing a major hurdle
The European Union (EU) on Monday approved Microsoft’s proposed $69 billion acquisition of the gaming giant Activision Blizzard. This regulatory clearance marks a major milestone for the acquisition, removing a significant hurdle in the process.
The news comes about three weeks after Britain’s antitrust regulator blocked Microsoft’s attempt to acquire the creator of “Call of Duty,” citing concerns about potential competition constraints in cloud gaming.
Commenting on the approval, the European Commission said that Microsoft has addressed antitrust concerns related to the acquisition of Activision Blizzard by offering remedies in the emerging field of cloud gaming. These remedies focus on granting users the ability to stream Activision games they purchase on any cloud streaming platform.
The approval from Europe is a significant victory for Microsoft, especially considering that the deal was previously blocked by the United Kingdom’s top competition authority in the previous month.
Activision, which is known for popular games such as “Call of Duty” and “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater,” has been mired in controversy for the last several months following reports of sexual misconduct and harassment among the company’s executives. On Monday, Activision said it fired dozens of executives after an investigation.
Microsoft has gotten more aggressive with gaming over the past several years. It bought “Minecraft” maker Mojang for $2.5 billion in 2014. And in 2020, Microsoft completed a $7.5 billion acquisition of game maker Bethesda.
Mobile is the largest segment in gaming, with nearly 95% of all players globally enjoying games on mobile. Through great teams and great technology, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard will empower players to enjoy the most-immersive franchises, like “Halo” and “Warcraft,” virtually anywhere they want. And with games like “Candy Crush,” Activision Blizzard´s mobile business represents a significant presence and opportunity for Microsoft in this fast-growing segment.
With Activision Blizzard’s nearly 400 million monthly active players in 190 countries and three billion-dollar franchises, this acquisition will make Game Pass one of the most compelling and diverse lineups of gaming content in the industry. Upon close, Microsoft will have 30 internal game development studios, along with additional publishing and esports production capabilities.