Competitors of Microsoft and Activision Blizzard are being consulted by the European Commission on the proposed $68.7 billion merger between the two businesses. The EU antitrust inspectors have reportedly issued a questionnaire with approximately 100 questions to game creators, publishers, and distributors who would be impacted by the merger if it were to be approved, according to a leaked document seen by Reuters.
The EU received Microsoft’s case for the Activision Blizzard merger last Friday, and the Commission has given itself until November 8 to approve the transaction or decide to launch a second, more thorough inquiry phase, as the UK competition authority recently did.
According to reports, the questionnaire asks whether Microsoft will be prompted to restrict access to Activision Blizzard franchises like Call of Duty, Diablo, and Overwatch in order to advance its position on consoles and PCs. It also inquires as to the significance of the Call of Duty series for publishers of console games, as well as for companies offering game subscriptions and cloud streaming services.
Additionally, contributors are being questioned about how the agreement would affect their negotiating position when it comes to the sale of their Xbox console games and Microsoft’s Game Pass subscription service. According to Reuters, the Commission is anticipated to initiate a four-month phase two inquiry following its initial judgment in November, supporting earlier allegations that the EU investigation of the merger will be extensive.
Regulators from all around the world are now reviewing the transaction. The FTC reportedly has until late November to determine whether to accept the purchase, but the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has set a deadline of March 1, 2023, for publishing the results of its investigation.
Brazil’s Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) said last week that the combination had received its full approval. Notably, the competition watchdog stated that it thought Sony would still be able to compete even if the arrangement ultimately prevented PlayStation from accessing Activision Blizzard material.
Activision and Microsoft’s anticipated acquisition deal has faced with several hindrances with multiple tech giants as well as analysts criticizing the deal. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft pulls this one out.