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Microsoft CEO ‘very confident’ Activision Blizzard acquisition will be approved

As Microsoft begins to feel more pressure from regulators over its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, CEO Satya Nadella has said he is “very confident” the deal will go through.

Government scrutiny of the Microsoft takeover has increased in recent weeks, with the UK Competition and Markets Authority announcing that it was moving into a deeper “phase 2” of its investigation, having determined that the takeover would lead to the “realistic prospect of a substantial decline in competition in game consoles, multi-game subscription services, and cloud gaming services.”

Sony has also become increasingly vocal about the proposed deal, particularly in regards to potential console exclusivity around Call of Duty. Earlier this month, for example, PlayStation boss Jim Ryan called Microsoft’s assurances that the hugely popular shooter would remain on PS5 post-acquisition “inadequate.”

Eurogamer Newscast: Were Nintendo Direct and Sony State of Play a disappointment?

It is in this climate that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has once again discussed the acquisition, dismissing recent developments as the norm. “Of course, any acquisition of this size will come under scrutiny,” he said. told Bloomberg“But we feel very, very confident that we will get out.”

Nadella also argued that Microsoft was the no. 4 or not. 5 competitor in the video game industry, noting that Sony, whom she called the biggest, had recently made a number of major acquisitions on its own. “So if this is about competition, let’s have competition,” she said.

Since last year, Sony’s video game acquisitions have included Returnal Housemarque developer Jade Raymond’s Haven Studios, Demon’s Souls remake developer Bluepoint, PC port specialist Nixxes Software, UK studio Firesprite, mobile games Savage Game Studios, Valkyrie Entertainment and, perhaps most notably, Destiny Studio Bungie. Though as a business lawyer and featured host of the video game industry legal podcast Virtual Legality Richard Hoeg observed following Nadella’s comments, “it’s possible that every acquisition in gaming history will fit within the size of the ABK deal.”

Expect a lot more back and forth as regulatory scrutiny of the Microsoft acquisition continues. If all goes well, the deal is expected to be approved next summer.


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