The European Union is reportedly issuing a formal antitrust notice to Microsoft as it seeks permission for its $69 billion transaction with Activision Blizzard. This is another another potential setback for the Xbox Activision Blizzard merger.
According to Politico, EU authorities wrote Microsoft a letter of objections detailing why the organisation believes the acquisition could prove problematic for the video gaming industry. Microsoft may be “incentivized” to ban access to Call of Duty in the future, according to a previous assertion by the EU.
A Microsoft spokeswoman told Politico that Xbox is dedicated to “finding a route ahead for the deal.”
The spokeswoman stated, “We are attentive to the European Commission’s concerns and are certain we can address them.”
In an earlier interview, Xbox CEO Phil Spencer was asked if he was more confident than he was a year ago that the deal would be completed. He responded that he has “more knowledge” about working with different regulatory boards than he did a year ago, which makes him “more confident now than I was a year ago based on the information I have and the discussions that we’ve been having.”
Comparing the Activision Blizzard Acquisition to Other Major Mergers
“Therefore, my self-assurance remains high,” Spencer told IGN. “It has been a learning experience for me to collaborate with the regulatory boards throughout the world that must approve this. A lot of time, a lot of travel, and a lot of conversations, but I get the opportunity to discuss our profession, the work we do, and why we do it. I believe that the more regulators are knowledgeable on what gaming is, how the industry operates, who the gamers are, and Team Xbox’s goals, the better for the industry as a whole.”
Despite this, Xbox’s agreement has been subjected to intensive investigation in the US, UK, and EU, with Sony claiming that the merger will create a monopoly in the games business. It has resulted in an extremely acrimonious verbal battle between the two platform owners as they attempt to influence authorities.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a lawsuit to prevent the transaction in December, with a trial scheduled for later this year.
Spencer and Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick continue to express optimism regarding the closing of the deal, with Kotick writing in an internal memo that the two companies “believe these arguments will prevail despite a regulatory environment centred on ideology and misconceptions about the tech industry.”
The Xbox merger is highly uncertain at this time. And if it does pass, it will not be without opposition.