The European Commission has extended the time needed to make their decision regarding Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard for $69 billion.
The European Union regulator has announced plans to extend the deadline for their decision on a potential merger between Microsoft and gaming giant Activision Blizzard by 10 days to April 25. This news comes after months of discussions and back and forth between Microsoft and the many regulator bodies looking into this merger.
In a recent interview with Bloomberg in which, EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager was asked if she was surprised by the speed with which the CMA produced its findings and whether regulators are now competing to do so at the same pace, she stated:
“I think that’s a very important discussion because we cannot be in a race. We need to serve the specific markets where we have jurisdiction.
And I also hope that people working with us appreciate that we have a different legal framework. I think in Europe, we are the ones with the highest bar, the most heavyweight legal obligations. We need to produce a recent decision that will eventually go public, but that will also have to stand up for very tight scrutiny in court.
The UK system is different, the US system is different again. So even when we look at the same transaction with different markets and different legal provisions, sometimes we’ll get to different results.”
The regulator has said that it requires the additional period “in order to continue assessing carefully all information relevant to the assessment of this transaction”. They added that they are still collecting information from third parties and wanted to give them “the opportunity to submit their views.”
This all comes after regulators made numerous recommendations and a number of structural remedies that could be used as a means to clear the way for the deal to be approved. These include a partial divestiture of Activision Blizzard, in which Microsoft has claimed that it cannot realistically or practically divest the part of the company that deals with Call of Duty.
In an oral hearing held earlier this week in the European Union, Microsoft presented arguments to convince the EU that its acquisition of Activision Blizzard should be approved. At this hearing, Microsoft detailed how PlayStation maintains a 70% share of the global console market versus Xbox’s 30%.
A forum organized by Microsoft has allowed the maker of the Xbox to address its objections to the Activision Blizzard merger, which was recently addressed by the European Union, which warned that the merger could have an anti-competitive effect. The Federal Trade Commission is expected to file a lawsuit in December to stop the merger.
The outcome of the EU’s review of the Activision Blizzard merger will be closely watched by many industries. If approved, it could result in a major shake-up of the gaming industry and impact future developments within the sector. The extended deadline gives all parties involved additional time to prepare for a possible outcome while allowing the EU regulator more time for its review process.