Microsoft “very, very confident” Activision Blizzard merger will go ahead

“If this is about competition, let us have competition"

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has said the company is “very, very confident” that its merger with Activision Blizzard will go ahead.

The £50billion deal was first announced back in January but earlier this month, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) voiced concerns that the merger may “harm rivals” and “damage competition.”

Due to this, the CMA is considering “an in-depth Phase 2 investigation,”  which involves bringing on an independent panel of experts to explore the concerns and potential risks in more detail. It follows on from the probe the CMA launched in July.

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However, speaking to Bloomberg, Nadella said: “Of course, any acquisition of this size will go through scrutiny but we feel very, very confident that we’ll come out.”

Nadella went on to claim that Microsoft was still only the fourth or fifth biggest competitor in the games market while Sony, which he considers to be the biggest, has also made a series of major acquisitions including Returnal developer Housemarque, esports platform Repeat.gg, Firesprite as well as Destiny studio Bungie. “So if this is about competition, let us have competition,” said Nadella.

However business lawyer and creator of industry legal podcast Virtual Legality, Richard Hoeg called out Nadella’s claims, (via Eurogamer) “I think the deal can and will go through, but this is wildly disingenuous regarding what we’re even talking about,” he said on Twitter. “It’s possible that you could fit every acquisition in the history of gaming within the size of the (Activision Blizzard) deal.”

Earlier this month, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan branded Microsoft‘s Call Of Duty offer “inadequate on many levels” after Microsoft promised to keep the franchise on PlayStation for three years beyond the current agreement between Activision and Sony.

“I hadn’t intended to comment on what I understood to be a private business discussion, but I feel the need to set the record straight because [Xbox boss] Phil Spencer brought this into the public forum,” Ryan said.

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“After almost 20 years of Call Of Duty on PlayStation, their proposal was inadequate on many levels and failed to take account of the impact on our gamers. We want to guarantee PlayStation gamers continue to have the highest quality Call Of Duty experience, and Microsoft’s proposal undermines this principle.”

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