Microsoft-Activision Deal Likely to Reach Final Decision in EU by May 15

EU antitrust regulators are set to approve Microsoft‘s $69 billion (nearly Rs. 5,65,480 crore) acquisition of Activision next week, with May 15 as the likeliest date, people familiar with the matter said.

The European Commission’s imminent clearance comes nearly three weeks after the UK competition authority blocked the deal, the biggest-ever deal in gaming, over concerns it would hinder competition in cloud gaming.

The EU antitrust enforcer is expected to clear the acquisition after Microsoft agreed to licensing deals with cloud streaming rivals including Nvidia, Ukraine’s Boosteroid and Japan’s Ubitus, other people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters in March.

It also has agreements with Nintendo and US distributor Valve, owner of the world’s largest video game distribution platform, Steam, to bring Activision’s Call of Duty to their gaming platforms should the acquisition go through.

The Commission, which has set a May 22 deadline for its decision, declined to comment.

Japan approved the takeover in March while the US Federal Trade Commission is also seeking to block it.

Meanwhile, Microsoft last month signed a 10-year deal with Nware to bring Xbox and Activision Blizzard games to the Spanish cloud-gaming platform. The decision was taken after Britain’s regulation authority decided to blocked its Activision deal.

“While it’s still early for the emerging cloud segment in gaming, this new partnership combined with our other recent commitments will make more popular games available on more cloud game streaming services than they are today,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said.

The Xbox console maker has signed similar deals with the owners of streaming platforms including Valve, Nvidia and Boosteroid.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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