According to Reuters, Microsoft president Brad Smith is travelling to Brussels this week to hold a very important story for European regulators. His challenge is to convince the antitrust watchdogs of several EU countries that Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard will be good for the competition.
Microsoft announced in January 2022 that it wants to take over Activision, the creator of the “Call of Duty”game series, for $ 69 billion. The deal would allow Microsoft to challenge game market leaders like Tencent and SONY.
Microsoft Gaming Chief Executive Officer Phil Spencer will accompany Smith to Brussels, along with a retinue of 16 other top executives, according to Reuters. Activision is represented by CEO Robert Kotick.
The purpose of the hearing is to enable Xbox maker Microsoft to “poll the vote among senior EU and national competition officials and commission lawyers”. This will help Microsoft prepare the measures it will take to address antitrust issues in the block.
A broad spectrum of stakeholders
The hearing will be attended by representatives of Sony, which is against the agreement, and of Google and Nvidia. Video game distributor Valve and video game publisher Electronic Arts will also be present. The European Games Developer Federation (EGDF), an ally of Microsoft that will be present, is publicly in favor of the deal and says it will allow Microsoft to compete with Apple.
However, the European Commission is on the other side of the issue and has stated that it objects to Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Market regulation and antitrust authorities from Germany, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden will also take part in the event.
However, the purchase of Activision by Microsoft is not only encountering problems in the EU. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US and the Competition and Markets Authority in the UK have also objected to the deal.