EU clears Microsoft’s £55bn Call Of Duty takeover


EU clears Microsoft’s £55bn Call Of Duty takeover – just weeks after it was blocked by UK competition watchdog

European regulators have approved Microsoft’s £55billion mega-merger with Call Of Duty maker Activision Blizzard – weeks after it was blocked by the UK’s competition watchdog.

The European Commission green lit the tie-up on condition that Microsoft ensures Activision’s game catalogue will be freely available on other cloud game-streaming providers over the next ten years.

The decision marked a dramatic split from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which last month suffered a barrage of criticism after rejecting the merger.

Approved: The European Commission has green lit Microsoft¿s £55bn mega-merger with Call Of Duty maker Activision Blizzard

Approved: The European Commission has green lit Microsoft’s £55bn mega-merger with Call Of Duty maker Activision Blizzard

The CMA argued that it would lead to ‘reduced innovation and less choice for UK gamers over the years to come’.

Activision attacked the CMA’s findings and said the decision showed that the UK was ‘clearly closed for business’.

Activision and Microsoft are planning to appeal the decision.

By contrast, the European Commission said the commitments offered by Microsoft and Activision to maintain competition ‘unlock significant benefits for competition and consumers’.

Responding to the decision, Microsoft vice chairman and president Brad Smith said: ‘The European Commission has required Microsoft to license popular Activision Blizzard games automatically to competing cloud gaming services.’

The decision presents fresh questions about the future of the deal, which requires approval from the UK, European and US regulators to succeed.

Microsoft and Activision are already putting together a legal team to challenge the UK ruling, while over in the US, the Federal Trade Commission is suing to block the merger with a court hearing due in August.

But time is running out to get the deal over the line.

Microsoft has until July 18 to complete the merger before owing Activision a termination fee, which could be as much as £2.4billion.



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