Microsoft CEO ‘very confident’ Activision Blizzard acquisition will be approved
As Microsoft begins to feel more heat from regulators over its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, CEO Satya Nadella says he’s “very confident” the deal will close. .
Government scrutiny of Microsoft’s acquisition has intensified in recent weeks, with the UK Competition and Markets Authority announcing it is moving to a more in-depth “Phase 2” investigation, after determining that the acquisition would give rise to the “realistic prospect of a substantial lessening of competition in games consoles, multi-game subscription services and cloud gaming services.” »
Sony, too, has been increasingly vocal about the proposed deal, particularly in regards to potential console exclusivity around Call of Duty. Earlier this month, for example, PlayStation head Jim Ryan called Microsoft’s assurances that the hugely popular shooter would stay on PS5 after the acquisition “inadequate.”
It was in this climate that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella again discussed the acquisition, dismissing recent developments as the norm. “Of course, any acquisition of this size will go through careful scrutiny,” he told Bloomberg, “but we are very, very confident that we will exit.”
Nadella also argued that Microsoft was the No. 4 or No. 5 competitor in the video game industry, noting that Sony, which he called the biggest, had recently made a number of major acquisitions. “So if it’s competition, let’s have competition,” he said.
Sony’s video game acquisitions since last year include Returnal Housemarque developer Jade Raymond’s Haven Studios, Demon’s Souls remake developer Bluepoint, PC ports specialist Nixxes Software, UK studio Firesprite, developer of mobile games Savage Game Studios, Valkyrie Entertainment and, perhaps most notably, Destiny studio Bungie. Although as a business lawyer and well-regarded host of the video game industry legal podcast Virtual Legality Richard Hoeg observed following Nadella’s comments, “It’s possible you could scale every acquisition in the game’s history to the size of the ABK deal.”
Expect a lot more back and forth as the regulatory review of Microsoft’s acquisition continues. If all goes well, the deal should be approved by next summer.