Updated May 15, 2023, 11:25am EDT

EU greenlights Microsoft's $69 billion Activision acquisition

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

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The News

EU regulators on Monday approved Microsoft's $69-billion bid for the acquisition of U.S. game maker Activision Blizzard, setting the stage for the world's largest tech deal in decades.

The approval went through after Microsoft said it would allow rival companies to access some of Activision's games, including the widely popular Call of Duty series.

“These commitments fully address the competition concerns identified by the commission,” EU regulators said in a statement.

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Know More

The merger has faced opposition in both the U.S. and the U.K.: Last month the British Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) blocked the takeover, saying it would “alter the future of the fast-growing cloud gaming market." In December, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission sued Microsoft in a bid to stop the deal.

Much of the resistance centers around the impact the merger would have on cloud gaming — newer gaming technology that allows users to stream games on phones — with regulators worried the acquisition would scale back the contribution to this sector from competitors like Nvidia.

EU officials said part of the reason the merger was approved was because cloud gaming is still a relatively small market.

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Step Back

The EU's decision is a rare show of support for Big Tech from the bloc. In recent years, it has issued billions in fines to companies like Apple and Google over matters such as privacy concerns and stifling competition.

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Now What?

The merger is now in the hands of the U.S. and U.K. courts as Microsoft appeals the recent decisions in both countries. Microsoft needs to prove that the merger would not reduce competition in the market, according to The New York Times.


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