EU Commission approves Microsoft’s Bethesda acquisition

All signs point to the smooth completion of the US$7.5billion deal

The European Commission has approved Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax Media and all of its subsidiary studios, including Bethesda Softworks.

The news of the EU Commission’s decision comes just a day after it was announced that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had similarly approved the acquisition and merger between the two companies.

In a statement on its website, the EU Commission said that “the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, given the combined entity’s limited market position upstream and the presence of strong downstream competitors in the distribution of video games”.

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It also clarified that the proposed acquisition “was examined under the normal merger review procedure”.

Now that both the EU Commission and SEC have green-lit the acquisition, the US$7.5billion deal faces no other major hurdles and should be finalised smoothly by the latter half of the year.

Microsoft first announced its intentions to acquire ZeniMax Media in September last year. The acquisition would give Microsoft control of all of ZeniMax’s studios including Bethesda Softworks, id Software, Arkane Studios and more.

Microsoft will facilitate the merger through a newly created division named Vault. While Microsoft will oversee all future projects, Xbox chief Phil Spencer has announced that Microsoft will not meddle with ZeniMax, be it through staff cuts or its development process. “Our plan is to leave it alone. ZeniMax has an amazing track record of building great games,” he said.

Additionally, Microsoft has confirmed that all of Bethesda’s announced exclusives for PlayStation will be honoured, with future games being released on Xbox’s rival consoles on a case-by-case basis.

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