According to the paper’s sources, Microsoft received the notice of objection on Tuesday. This includes possible reasons why the deal may be blocked by the board if appropriate corrective actions are not taken. The committee is conducting a thorough investigation and must make a decision by April 11. It is worth noting, however, that such announcements are routine for large mergers and do not necessarily mean that the deal will be vetoed.
When launching the detailed investigation, back in November, the Commission raised concerns that Microsoft “may foreclose access to Activision Blizzard’s console and PC video games, particularly in the case of highly popular and highly successful games.” According to the preliminary investigation, the deal “could significantly reduce competition in the console and PC video game distribution markets”. This includes cloud-based game streaming services, a market in which Microsoft is already the market leader.
The acquisition of Activision by Microsoft would require the approval of 16 jurisdictions, of which the biggest obstacles are the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the British Competition and Markets Authority and the European Commission. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit in December to block the transaction, saying Microsoft’s stake in Activision could hurt other players in the $200 billion gaming market by limiting rivals’ access to the company’s biggest games.
Cover image: Getty Images