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EU delays decision on Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard

Relax. The $69 billion acquisition decision has been pushed back to May 22
EU delays decision on Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard

The latest development in the continuing saga of the Microsoft and Activision Blizzard merger comes from the EU; the final judgement on the acquisition has been pushed back from April 25 to May 22.

Weathering the storm

Microsoft first revealed its plan to acquire Activision Blizzard in January 2022 for a staggering $69 billion, and progress towards this has been tumultuous ever since.

Originally, Microsoft hoped to have the acquisition approved and closed by the middle of 2023, but with the European Commission and the UK's CMA both having extended their deadlines for a decision to May 22, the likelihood of this is looking less and less realistic. The extension will give the European Commission more time to gather feedback on Microsoft’s activity before deciding what to do.

The EU has seemed to incline more positively towards the acquisition after recent concessions Microsoft made although the CMA has seemingly remained unconvinced. Their pushing back of the deadline follows new announcements from Microsoft, such as deals to bring first-party Xbox games and Activision Blizzard titles to competing cloud services, Call of Duty included.

"We have stood behind our promise to bring Call of Duty to more gamers on more devices by entering into agreements to bring the game to the Nintendo console and cloud game streaming services offered by Nvidia, Boosteroid, and Ubitus," a spokesperson told Reuters.

After the reveal of Microsoft’s plans to create a next-generation games store across platforms, mobile included, Google stood in firm opposition to the deal.

The FTC in the US has sued Microsoft to block the deal, with preparations for a trial underway. Sony, meanwhile, has aimed to block the acquisition, with claims that the deal could impose an anti-competitive environment despite Microsoft’s repeated assertion that the prime motivator of the acquisition is to gain a foothold in the mobile gaming market.