the European Union could reconsider its validation of the takeover

New twist. Following the creation of a new takeover project of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft for the United Kingdom, it is the European Union which is now paving the way for a new investigation on its part.

The never-ending story. Initiated in January 2022, and when everything seemed ready to be closed, the takeover project of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft opens a new chapter since this Tuesday, August 22.

This morning, Microsoft and Ubisoft announced the signing of a major contract. The latter will buy the rights to the publication in cloud gaming of Activision Blizzard games past, present and future over the next 15 years, with a license valid in perpetuity. This contract allows Microsoft to trigger the opening of a new investigation in the United Kingdom with, as a result, a potential validation by the CMA by October 18, 2023.

New reversal of the situation: these changes could provoke a new investigation by the European Union.

The special case of Europe

Asked about the subject by The VergeEuropean Commission representative Arianne Podesta said “ The Commission is carefully assessing whether developments in the UK require further notification to the Commission “.

If the Commission deems it necessary, Microsoft will have to propose its new takeover plan to the European Union, which would potentially relaunch several months of investigations.

It should be remembered that Microsoft has offered to resell the international rights to Activision Blizzard’s cloud gaming games to Ubisoft, but excluding the EEA (European Economic Area). In this territory, it is indeed the concessions signed by Microsoft with the EU that prevail for 10 years. These allow all competitors of Microsoft in cloud gaming to obtain a free license for streaming Activision Blizzard games for 10 years after the takeover.

Source : Brad Smith

Like the reminder The Verge, during the signature with the European Union, Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft, had promised to extend the same conditions everywhere in the world to the competitors of the firm. However, with the resale of the rights to Ubisoft, the firm will not be able to keep this promise.

After a first validation of the takeover in May 2023, it is difficult to imagine the European Union ending up blocking the acquisition after a second investigation. But it could cause another delay in the conclusion of this soap opera.

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