It appears Microsoft is offering no remedies to the European Union antitrust regulators who are reviewing the company’s proposed bid for the Activision Blizzard deal before the full-scale probe begins, international media reported based on insider words. Earlier in January this year, Microsoft had proposed an acquisition bid worth $69 billion, which is around Rs. 5,71,400 crore in Indian currency, for Activision Blizzard, the Call of Duty maker.
As the close source quotes in the international media, “The US Software Company is betting on the acquisition to help it compete better with leaders Tencent and Sony, with the latter being a critic of the deal.”
The European Union antitrust regulator revealed on its website that Microsoft has not offered any concessions as of now. The commission is supposed to finish the preliminary assessment of the Microsoft-Activision Blizzard deal by November 8 this year.
According to Microsoft, the company continues to work with the regulators on the next steps of this EU antitrust review. It is also willing to address any valid concerns that the marketplace may have. This was said in all probability for the concerns previously voiced by Sony. Though Microsoft ended speculation when it, in a statement to the media, said, “Sony, as the industry leader, says it is worried about Call of Duty, but we’ve said we are committed to making the same game available on the same day on both Xbox and PlayStation.”
Traditionally no major companies have offered remedies to the European Union during the preliminary reviews. This is because most of the time in such cases, the companies know that regulators are most likely to upon a subsequent investigation. In this case, as well, the EU is all set to begin an in-depth investigation, which Microsoft was probably anticipating. However, the European commission has a deadline of November 8, by which it has to finish the preliminary investigation and then formally announce whether a much-talked-about Phase 2 investigation will happen into the deal or not.
Various media agencies earlier also reported that the EU antitrust regulators have been speaking to other game developers and trying to understand if Microsoft will or can “be incentivized to block rivals’ access to Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard’s best-selling games.” This was mentioned in media reports based on some EU documents seen by a reputed media agency.
The report also stated that the EU competition enforcer has inquired whether Activision’s trove of user data can be used by the US software giant for any competitive advantage. It appeared that the EU competition enforcer believed that a competitive advantage can be gained with “the development, publishing and distribution of computer and console games.”
Microsoft with this planned Activision Blizzard acquisition deal, which many believe to be the biggest deal in the gaming industry ever to be signed, would be able to compete with leaders Tencent and Sony better.
It is to be noted that Microsoft’s bid to acquire Activision Blizzard is not only under review in the EU but also in several other parts of the world. The deal is also under review in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea. Moreover, Brazil and Saudi Arabia are two countries that have cleared the acquisition deal unconditionally.