Overcoming Regulatory Obstacles: Microsoft’s Triumph in the Activision Blizzard Acquisition

Last year, in January, Microsoft orchestrated a monumental acquisition of gaming titan Activision Blizzard at $95 per share, an endeavor totaling $68.7 billion, marking Microsoft’s most substantial expenditure ever undertaken. This transaction drew considerable skepticism, with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) expressing reservations, each citing their unique reasons.

To clear the hurdles of various regulatory bodies, Microsoft executed an array of maneuvers, such as entering into ten-year licensing agreements with significant competitors, backed by a series of commitments and assurances. These diligent efforts were not without reward; for instance, the European Commission recently announced its endorsement of this transaction. As reported by Seeking Alpha, Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard has made further headway, with China’s State Administration for Market Regulation approving the deal unconditionally following the conclusion of the third phase of review.

Microsoft articulates that the Activision Blizzard acquisition has thus far obtained approval from 37 countries or regions, spanning the 27 European Union nations, China, Japan, and Brazil, among others, covering an expanse inhabited by over two billion individuals worldwide. Microsoft has reiterated its pledge to the European Commission to facilitate an expanded array of consumers to engage in more gaming experiences across an extensive range of devices.

Despite the European antitrust regulator’s lingering apprehensions about Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, their approval, akin to that of the UK Competition and Markets Authority, conceded the potential impact this transaction might inflict on the cloud gaming market. Consequently, Microsoft has vowed to address these issues through remedial measures, including offering free licensing to consumers in EU regions, granting them access to “any chosen cloud gaming streaming service” and conferring ownership of all current and future Activision Blizzard PC and console games.