Microsoft and Activision’s merger receives a breath of relief after a Reuters story indicated that the EU was unlikely to require asset sales as part of the transaction.
Last month, Microsoft President Brad Smith indicated that although the company would be willing to give license arrangements to competitors in order to resolve antitrust concerns, it will not be selling Activision’s valuable “Call of Duty” property.
Our commitment to grant long term 100% equal access to Call of Duty to Sony, Steam, NVIDIA and others preserves the deal’s benefits to gamers and developers and increases competition in the market.EU Spokesperson
In order to ease antitrust worries, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) regulator had earlier advised Activision sell up Call of Duty first.
Smith’s previous statement also ruled out an even less likely scenario proposed by the CMA as a possible cure to the merger getting through UK regulation: that Activision Blizzard divides and Activision itself is sold off so that Microsoft just gets Blizzard and the company’s mobile unit King.
We just don’t see a viable path to sell the Activision studio[s] or Call of Duty game to someone else.
So if you’re the CMA in the UK, I think you’re probably going to want to make a decision.Brad Smith
Although the Call of Duty franchise being sold is not a possibility, however, the hype created around the remedy suggest by the CMA is something to note about. Recall that Microsoft previously stated that Call of Duty is not the main focus of the deal. Microsoft claims it wants Activision Blizzard to aid in its expansion into the mobile gaming industry and enable it to add more AAA titles to Game Pass.
Microsoft could still easily accomplish both goals by agreeing to sell up Call of Duty, but an open rejection of the notion might cast doubt on the sincerity of the company’s prior claims. This might raise questions not just with other authorities, but also with gamers who may be concerned by Microsoft’s apparent double standard.
Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision is being scrutinized by European Union antitrust regulators. As of right moment, the authorities have until April 25 to make a judgement on the transaction. This implies that they need more time to review the purchase and make a final decision on whether or not it should be allowed.
Till then, Microsoft has the time to decide the “provisional remedies” demanded by regulators. The matter seems to be evolving hence to stay updated, make sure to follow us.
If you are interested in learning about the development of the Microsoft-Activision merger, you can read our roundup on the subject here.