In a nutshell: Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard has confronted challenges from regulators worldwide, however the deal has slowly been edging towards completion over the previous few months. It may, nevertheless, be scuppered by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which is more likely to launch an antitrust lawsuit to dam the takeover.
According to Politico, which cites three folks with data of the matter, an FTC lawsuit isn’t assured. The publication provides that the FTC’s 4 commissioners have but to vote out a grievance or meet with legal professionals for the businesses. But with FTC employees reviewing the deal reportedly skeptical of the 2 tech giants’ arguments, a lawsuit appears to be the almost certainly consequence.
Most of the FTC’s investigation has now been accomplished, with Microsoft chief government Satya Nadella and Activision head Bobby Kotick having already been deposed, in accordance with folks acquainted with the matter. If there’s a lawsuit, it’s going to in all probability arrive subsequent month.
The deal has additionally come underneath elevated scrutiny from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority. Once once more, many of the objections are from Sony, which believes Microsoft will make the Call of Duty sequence unique to Xbox/PC. This is regardless of repeated assurances from the Redmond agency that such a transfer will not occur. Microsoft has even supplied Sony a 10-year deal to maintain the franchise on PlayStation.
In Sony’s submitted arguments to the UK watchdog, it famous that different video games can’t compete with CoD, citing Battlefield for example. “Despite the similarities between Call of Duty and Battlefield and regardless of EA’s observe file in growing different profitable AAA franchises (comparable to FIFA, Mass Effect, Need for Speed, and Star Wars: Battlefront)—the Battlefield franchise can’t sustain. As of August 2021, greater than 400 million Call of Duty video games had been offered, whereas Battlefield had offered simply 88.7 million copies,” mentioned Sony’s legal professionals.
Interestingly, Sony’s submitting additionally references the PlayStation 6. The firm believes the console will not arrive till a minimum of 2027, giving the PS5 a seven-year life cycle.
Sony referred to a subsequent technology of PlayStation console in its CMA response, with the recommended yr of launch being redacted
This was in a passage the place it was referring to shedding entry to CoD after 2027, with increased potential for platform switching
PlayStation 6 in 2028? pic.twitter.com/f7govC8R7A
— Piers Harding-Rolls (@PiersHR) November 23, 2022
Regulators in Saudi Arabia and Brazil have authorised Microsoft’s acquisition. It’s nonetheless ready to obtain approval in different international locations, together with the UK, which has given March 1 because the deadline for its remaining determination. The European Commission’s investigation can be ongoing. With a attainable FTC lawsuit on the horizon, may the deal find yourself going the identical method as Nvidia’s tried takeover of Arm?