Microsoft is most likely ready for rigorous anti-trust scrutiny around the world when they decide buy Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. The deal is the tech giant’s biggest ever, and it’s also set to become the largest all-cash acquisition ever. In the United States, the proposed acquisition would be reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission instead of the Department of Justice, according to Bloomberg. The two agencies are responsible for investigating mergers in the country and often decide for themselves which agency should take charge of a case.
FTC investigation is expected to scrutinize how Microsoft owns Activision can harm an opponent by restricting access to developers’ biggest games. Activision owns extremely popular IPs, including Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush. It’s unclear if Microsoft plans to release exclusive titles for Xbox and Window PC in the future, but it’s worth noting that Sony is still ahead of Microsoft in terms of gaming hardware sales, and a big chunk of it. Activision’s revenue comes from PlayStation gamers.
Microsoft is expected to close the acquisition in June 2023, and it probably won’t be easy for the company. As Bloomberg note, the FTC swears to apply more actively approach towards investigating last year’s mergers and acquisitions under new president Lina Khan. In December, the FTC to sue to block NVIDIA’s $40 billion purchase of ARM over concerns that the deal would limit competition for various technologies, such as data centers and car computers.
One more recent Bloomberg Report says NVIDIA is preparing walk away from deal, and SoftBank, the current owner of ARM, is looking to take the company public if the acquisition is successful. However, Microsoft seems confident that the acquisition will take place – Reuters said the tech giant is committed to paying a $3 billion break fee if the deal fails.
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