Microsoft's $69 Billion Activision Blizzard Acquisition Faces Antitrust Scrutiny from EU and Opposition from Regulators and Industry Players
Microsoft should be ready to navigate the minefield of opposition with its plans to invest in OpenAI’s ChatGPT and its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is considered one of the biggest deals in the gaming industry, so it’s not surprising that it’s facing regulatory challenges from the European Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The European Commission, in particular, is planning on sending a charge sheet, known as a statement of objections, outlining its concerns about the deal to Microsoft, with a deadline for its decision set for April 11, 2023.
Regulators and Industry Players Raise Concerns Over Microsoft's Acquisition Of Activision Blizzard
The primary concern among regulators and competitors is the potential for the merger to decrease competition in the gaming industry. Some have also expressed concerns about the potential impact on innovation and access to Activision Blizzard’s games, as well as Microsoft’s increased presence in the mobile gaming market. Google and Nvidia have reportedly expressed these concerns to the FTC.
Microsoft Responds to Concerns Over Unfair Industry Advantage that may Follow their Acquisition of Activision Blizzard
In response to these concerns, Microsoft has highlighted its commitment to creating the best workplaces in the tech sector and its acceptance of unions in an ad placed in the Washington Post. The company has also recanted its claim that the FTC’s structure violates the United States Constitution.
Microsoft Intends Investing $10 Billion In OpenAI
In addition to the potential acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft is also in talks to invest another $10 billion in OpenAI, the parent company of ChatGPT. The deal, if struck, would give Microsoft the majority of OpenAI’s profits until its investment is recouped.
Once that happens, ownership would shift to a more standard 49% for Microsoft, 49% for other investors, and 2% for OpenAI’s nonprofit parent.
Overall, it remains to be seen whether the acquisition will be approved by regulators and whether the concerns about competition will be addressed. Apart from the acquisition making Microsoft the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, it would also give them ownership of iconic franchises and global eSports activities through Major League Gaming, as well as access to Activision Blizzard’s nearly 10,000 employees worldwide.