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Microsoft Reportedly to Receive EU Antitrust Warning Over Activision Blizzard Deal

Microsoft Reportedly to Receive EU Antitrust Warning Over Activision Blizzard Deal - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 16 January 2023 / 7,257 Views

It appears Microsoft is likely it will receive an antitrust warning from European Union regulators, the European Commission, over its Activision Blizzard acquisition, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke with Reuters.

The European Commission is preparing a statement of objections that will be sent to Microsoft in the coming weeks, according to the people. The objects will list out concerns the regulators have over the deal.

"We're continuing to work with the European Commission to address any marketplace concerns," said Microsoft in a statement. "Our goal is to bring more games to more people, and this deal will further that goal."

Microsoft Reportedly to Receive EU Antitrust Warning Over Activision Blizzard Deal

The European Commission declined to comment. However, it is known they have set an April 11 deadline for its decision on the deal.

Microsoft was already reportedly looking to offer remedies to concerns the European Commission in an attempt to prevent a statement of objections and to get the deal passed sooner. However, it appears the EU regulators are not open to remedies until after it sends its statement of objections.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK have also expressed concerns over the deal.

Chile's regulatory authority, the Fiscalia Nacional Economica, in December 2022 released its ruling on Microsoft's Activision Blizzard acquisition and has voted to approve the deal in Phase 1. The acquisition has also been confirmed to have been approved in BrazilSaudi Arabia, and Serbia unconditionally.

A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012 and taking over the hardware estimates in 2017. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel. You can contact the author on Twitter @TrunksWD.

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CaptainExplosion (on 16 January 2023)

Yet they didn't do the same to Disney over buying Fox, Nat Geo, Starz, etc. -_-

  • +2
Ryuu96 CaptainExplosion (on 16 January 2023)

It's just standard procedure.

Essentially EC doesn't want to negotiate with Microsoft formally until they first issue the statement of objection, it does not mean a block, it just means "these are the problems we have" and then Microsoft/EC can negotiate formally on any possible remedies.

This was the expected step by everyone following the merger, it doesn't mean anything bad, yet.

  • +5
CaptainExplosion Ryuu96 (on 16 January 2023)

"yet". So they CAN block it. -_-

  • -5
Mnementh CaptainExplosion (on 17 January 2023)

That is the inherent power of that regulatory body, yes.

  • +3
rapsuperstar31 CaptainExplosion (on 16 January 2023)

Fox has killed Disney' stock value, the stock owners would have loved it if it was blocked. Plus I do believe Disney had to sell fox sports for the deal to go through. Which also killed fox sports, since Balleys who bought it, is the worst!

  • +3
Soonerman rapsuperstar31 (on 16 January 2023)

You mean Disney has killed Fox. And actually, I think Fox Sports has become quite better network than ESPN. It's just hard for Fox Sports and any new sports network to beat them because ESPN has become synonym with sports TV.

  • +1
VAMatt Soonerman (on 16 January 2023)

Fox Sports is still with Fox. It was not sold to anybody.

  • +4
SecondWar VAMatt (on 16 January 2023)

Its owned by Fox Corporation, which was spun off from 21st Century Fox as part of of the Disney acquisition.
Murdoch still owns it and not Disney.

  • +1
VAMatt SecondWar (on 17 January 2023)

Correct. It is still with Fox.

  • -1
SecondWar VAMatt (on 17 January 2023)

That depends. If you mean 21st Century Fox, then no its not.

  • 0
VAMatt SecondWar (on 17 January 2023)

It is with what remains of the company that it has always been a part of. Technically it's a new company, but it is really just a segment of the old company with a different name.

  • 0
3sexty VAMatt (on 19 January 2023)

Not entirely mate. See above replies. U.S brand yes though.

  • 0
3sexty SecondWar (on 18 January 2023)

the international brand is owned by Disney.

  • 0
3sexty VAMatt (on 18 January 2023)

Kind of a little more complicated than that. I believe it is split across 3 brands now. In the U.S yes it is still owned by News Corporation, however the Fox Sports Internation brand did transfer over to Disney. The Australian brand is split 50;50 between News corporation and the local telco Telstra under the Foxtel tv cable business.

  • 0
rapsuperstar31 Soonerman (on 16 January 2023)

Maybe the actual main channel Fox Sports is better but the local sports in every market is terrible. Before Sinclair/Balley's bought Fox Sports you could get local games on Hulu tv, youtube tv, Slingtv, Playstation Tv etc. Balley's removed it from all streaming platforms. They did finally come out with an app a few months ago, that you can pay $20 a month for to watch your home team, but form what I've heard the app is pretty buggy.

  • +1
method114 CaptainExplosion (on 16 January 2023)

From my understanding and I could be wrong Biden specifically wanted the FTC to step things up once he got into office. Especially in the tech industry. Disney was before Biden so not much he could do then. This is a good thing we want the FTC to be on top of these companies. Although I'll admit I welcomed the Disney + fox because I was tired of watching Fox destroy The X-men.

  • +4
CaptainExplosion method114 (on 16 January 2023)

But Disney's monopolizing everything. -_-

  • -1
Qwark CaptainExplosion (on 17 January 2023)

There are still plenty of film makers who aren't Disney and Netflix is the big dog for streaming.

  • +4
Trentonater method114 (on 17 January 2023)

Lina Khan is the new head of the ftc and she is known for her criticisms of the tech giants and amazon in particular. She was appointed with by partisan support as both democrats and repblicans hate the tech giants.

  • +1
Mr Puggsly (on 17 January 2023)

Imagine thinking MS purchasing this game studio is going to have any meaningful impact on lives.

Especially a company that has multiplat support as a strategy.

  • 0
DialgaMarine Mr Puggsly (on 17 January 2023)

It sets multiple bad precedents for the industry. Basically removes any semblance of accountability from third parties, not to mention the power MS will have to charge unreasonable royalties to platforms wishing to have CoD games. They already do this with their ownership of DX12, GitHub, Havoc, LinkedIn, etc.

That’s not to mention this will certainly have long term negative effects on their gamer base.

If they can’t compete by creating compelling products of their own, just bleed the competition dry. Embrace, Extend, Extinguish as MS likes to say.

  • -3
Pemalite DialgaMarine (on 18 January 2023)

Microsoft doesn't charge royalties for platforms wishing to have Minecraft.

  • Thus making your example entirely unfounded and illogical.

    As for Direct X, GitHub, Havoc, Linkedin...

    They are not games.

    Github is an internet hosting service for software development and version control.

    Linkdin is a business and employment tool with social media aspects.

    Havok is a Physics engine, a piece of middleware software that sits inside game engines, it's a powerful piece of technology... Granted it's importance has waned as developers have drifted to their own or built-in physics engines.

    Direct X has always been synonymous with Microsoft's platforms... And is a Application Programmable Interface that originally had the goal of making the interface between games and hardware, easier, simpler and more efficient.

  • Every platform has an API. - Playstation will use Vulkan/OpenGL, Apple uses Metal... And so forth, Microsoft hasn't leveraged it to push competitors out or forced people to pay royalties.
  • +1
KratosLives (on 16 January 2023)

I'm looking forward for to this on "internet historian" , in the near future.

  • 0
ClassicGamingWizzz (on 16 January 2023)

Papa phill gets one more grey hair every time a news of this drops.

  • -9
Libara ClassicGamingWizzz (on 16 January 2023)


  • +6
ClassicGamingWizzz Libara (on 16 January 2023)


  • -8
Crown ClassicGamingWizzz (on 17 January 2023)


  • 0
Mnementh ClassicGamingWizzz (on 17 January 2023)

Does he though? Xbox haters like to see this acquisition as something outstanding and special and also crucial for MS. Basically if the acquisition fails MS has time to do something else and freed up the funds too. I am not sure Xbox haters actually want that. Because in my personal opinion, they could do much better than Activision. The only market it really matters (mobile with King) I don't care about.

  • +1
Qwark Mnementh (on 17 January 2023)

Freed up funds, lol what 70 billion is pretty much a few pennies for MS. Their money pool is basically unlimited and they can pretty much loan an infinite amount of money due to the company being worth two trillion.

If it doesn't go trough they will likely go for smaller acquisitions. Like King as a seperate entity, Ubisoft and perhaps CD Project Red

  • +1
Mnementh Qwark (on 17 January 2023)

MS had stopped making smaller acquisitions since they started with Activision and I don't think the shareholders are content to see 70 billion spent all the time. So I really think, without the Acti-acquisition MS could've gone for some smaller studios or even mid-class like Bethesda. Obsidian is the first to show new games since the acquisition and Grounded and Pentiment are signs that they are creative as ever. How many Obsidian like studios they could get for one Activision?

  • 0
Qwark Mnementh (on 17 January 2023)

You need to think a little bigger for 70 billion you can get:
CD project Red (Witcher)
Larian games (divinity)
From Soft
Sega and Atlus
Square Enix

And around 50 studios with 200 employees so somewhat similar to the size of Obsidian. Or skip all of the above and get hundred instead. To there aren't that many big independent studios left. Unless you go on a buying spree in China

  • +2
Mnementh Qwark (on 17 January 2023)

That catch I would like a lot more than Activision :)

  • +1
Qwark Mnementh (on 17 January 2023)

Perhaps but the output of those companies is rather low compared to Actibliz. COD, FIFA and Pokémon are in a league of their own when it comes to big IP's. Microsoft knows that COD can move around 175 million copies in a gen on its own, other IP's included Actibliz should be able to at least sell 200 to 250 million games per gen. Actibliz also make a shit ton of money from King and WOW.

Owning Actibliz will cost much less than owning all the studios above.

  • 0
Mnementh Qwark (on 17 January 2023)

Yeah probably, but still I feel Acti isn't too exciting after all.

  • 0
SanAndreasX Mnementh (on 17 January 2023)

Modern Warfare II was the best-selling game of 2022 just off of the last couple of months. It blew Elden Ring out of the water. Like it or not, Actiblizz is a pretty big fish and would give MS control over a large part of the industry.

  • 0
Pemalite Qwark (on 18 January 2023)

A few misconceptions... Microsoft's money supply is -not- unlimited.

Keep in mind that Microsoft's revenue is $198 billion with a profit of around $70~ billion per year.

So the Activision deal is equivalent to roughly a years worth of profit for Microsoft. Not bad.

However... Microsoft is not able to willy-nilly spend money however it likes, it doesn't have an open checkbook... Microsoft does have to answer to shareholders and other financial interests and stakeholders that have fingers in the pie... And thus they need to be able to justify any intended purchases.

  • 0