Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Friday, Mar 01, 2024

EU Backs Microsoft's $69 Billion Activision Blizzard Takeover

EU Backs Microsoft's $69 Billion Activision Blizzard Takeover

Xbox-owner Microsoft launched its gigantic bid for Activision Blizzard early last year to create the world's third biggest gaming firm by revenue.
The EU on Monday gave the green light to Microsoft's $69-billion takeover bid for US video game giant Activision Blizzard, just weeks after the British competition regulator blocked the deal, putting it at risk.

The deal is also under threat in the US giant's homeland, where last year the Federal Trade Commission launched a legal action to block it, one of Washington's biggest ever interventions to stop tech industry consolidation.

Xbox-owner Microsoft launched its gigantic bid for Activision Blizzard early last year to create the world's third biggest gaming firm by revenue after China's Tencent and Japan's PlayStation maker Sony, provoking antitrust concerns.

Activision Blizzard's hit titles also include "Candy Crush" and "World of Warcraft". If it goes ahead, it will be the biggest deal ever in gaming if it goes through.

The European Commission, the bloc's powerful anti-trust authority, said the approval was "conditional on full compliance with the commitments offered by Microsoft".

"The commitments fully address the competition concerns identified by the commission and represent a significant improvement for cloud gaming as compared to the current situation," it added in a statement.

The European Commission said that if Microsoft lives up to its promises, it will allow gamers to stream Activision's titles on any cloud gaming streaming services operating in Europe.

"The European Commission has required Microsoft to license popular Activision Blizzard games automatically to competing cloud gaming services," Microsoft vice chair Brad Smith said.

"This will apply globally and will empower millions of consumers worldwide to play these games on any device they choose."

But, unless Microsoft wins an appeal against the block by Britain's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last month, experts say it will be game over for the bid.

The CMA blocked the bid over concerns it could kill competition in the fast-growing cloud gaming market, and lead to less choice for British gamers in the future.

"If Microsoft does not win the appeal in the CAT, it cannot proceed with the acquisition even if the European Commission now approves it," said Anne Witt, a professor of anti-trust law at EDHEC business school in France.

"Unless, of course, Microsoft decides to leave the UK market. But that seems unlikely," she told AFP earlier this year.

If a regulator in one country does not approve a takeover, the merged company would not be able to operate that market.

While Britain is a smaller market compared with the European Union and the United States, millions use Microsoft products, including its ubiquitous Windows operating system.

This is the first major split decision between regulators in the EU and in Britain since the UK's exit from the bloc at the start of 2021. Japan has already approved the acquisition, and there is still a legal process ongoing challenging the merger in the United States.

Cloud gaming boom

Technology firms, including Microsoft, want a slice of the growing demand for "cloud gaming" as gamers move away from physical consoles to subscriptions and virtual access, allowing users to play games over devices like mobile phones and tablets.

The CMA pointed out in an analysis, however, that Microsoft already accounts for between 60 percent and 70 percent of cloud gaming services.

Microsoft has insisted to regulators that the merger will not hurt competition, promising that it would give access to Activision's games to 150 million more people.

It has already agreed deals to bring the "Call of Duty" to the Nintendo console and cloud game streaming services offered by Nvidia, Boosteroid and Ubitus.

Sony has alleged that the deal will give Microsoft the power to limit rivals' access to the popular franchise but Brussels said in Monday's decision that it found Microsoft "would have no incentive to refuse to distribute Activision's games to Sony".

The commitments that Microsoft offered that eased the EU's fears include a free licence to European users to stream, via any cloud game streaming services, all current and future Activision Blizzard PC and console games for which they have a licence.

"In such a fast-growing and dynamic industry, it is crucial to protect competition and innovation. Our decision represents an important step in this direction," EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager said.

The US Federal Trade Commission last year filed a suit to block the takeover, alleging that Microsoft had previously acquired smaller gaming companies in order to take the games exclusive.
Newsletter

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
0:00
0:00
Close
It's always the people with the dirty hands pointing their fingers
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Steve Jobs' Son Launches Venture Capital Firm With $200 Million For Cancer Treatments
Google reshuffles Assistant unit, lays off some staffers, to 'supercharge' products with A.I.
End of Viagra? FDA approved a gel against erectile dysfunction
UK sanctions Russians judges over dual British national Kara-Murza's trial
US restricts visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders because of security concerns
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Political leader from South Africa, Julius Malema, led violent racist chants at a massive rally on Saturday
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
'I am not your servant': IndiGo crew member, passenger get into row over airline meal
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Spanish Citizenship Granted to Iranian chess player who removed hijab
US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezes up, leaves press conference
Speaker McCarthy says the United States House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach Joe Biden.
San Francisco car crash
This camera man is a genius
3D ad in front of Burj Khalifa
Next level gaming
BMW driver…
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
×