Microsoft's $69bn Activision bid faces EU antitrust probe
American multinational tech giant Microsoft may have to offer concessions to address the European Union antitrust concerns about its $69 billion bid for "Call of Duty" maker Activision Blizzard after regulators opened a full-scale investigation on Tuesday and warned about the impact of the deal.
The US software company_ which announced the deal in January_ is betting Activision's stable of games will help it compete better with leaders Tencent and Sony_ with the latter critical of the deal.
"The Commission's preliminary investigation shows that the transaction may significantly reduce competition on the markets for the distribution of console and PC video games_ including multigame subscription services and/or cloud game streaming services_ and for PC operating systems_" the European Commission said in a statement.
"The preliminary investigation suggests that Microsoft may have the ability_ as well as a potential economic incentive_ to engage in foreclosure strategies vis-à-vis Microsoft's rival distributors of console video games_" it added.
Microsoft said it would work with the EU antitrust watchdog to address valid marketplace concerns.
"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. We want people to have more access to games_ not less_" a Microsoft spokesperson said.
The EU competition enforcer said it would decide by Mar 23_ 2023_ whether to clear or block the deal. Reuters reported on Oct 31 that Microsoft would face an extensive EU probe after declining to offer remedies during the preliminary EU review of the deal.
Britain's antitrust watchdog is also investigating the acquisition_ with similar concerns to its EU peer.