Microsoft buyout faces pushback from the UK as Google and Nvidia express concerns about the deal to the FTC


The billion-dollar buyout of Activision-Blizzard from Microsoft was likely never going to be a smooth transaction, but we suspect all parties involved weren’t expecting it to be this bumpy. According to insider reporting from Reuters, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority will be “readying a charge sheet known as a statement of objections, setting out its concerns about the deal which will be sent to Microsoft in the coming weeks.”

This doesn’t quite spell the end of the transaction, as those same insiders say that Microsoft and the CMA have had “ongoing informal discussions on concessions” such as the 10-year agreement to make the Call of Duty franchise available to Sony, but the government body won’t be formally open to negotiations until the charge sheet is sent. Microsoft says it is “continuing to work with the European Commission to address any marketplace concerns,” and the CMA’s decision to OK or reject the deal is currently on an April 12th deadline.

Meanwhile, the upcoming antitrust lawsuit between Microsoft and the US Federal Trade Commission has gotten a bit of extra gasoline on its fire, as both Google and Nvidia have expressed their concerns about the merger to the FTC. According to confidential sources, both companies provided information that backs the FTC’s argument that Microsoft would gain an unfair advantage in the cloud, subscription-based, and mobile gaming markets. Readers will note that both companies have had their toes in the cloud gaming market scene with Google’s Stadia (which died on the vine recently) and Nvidia’s GeForce NOW service (which is still ongoing).

sources: Reuters and Bloomberg via Rock, Paper, Shotgun (1, 2)
Activision-Blizzard is considered a controversial gaming company owing to a long string of scandals over the last few years, including the Blitzchung boycott, mass layoffs, labor disputes, and executive pay fiasco. In 2021, the company was sued by California for fostering a work environment rife with sexual harassment and discrimination, the disastrous corporate response to which compounded Blizzard’s ongoing pipeline issues and the widespread perception that its online games are in decline. Multiple state and federal agencies are investigating the company as employees unionize and call for Bobby Kotick’s resignation. As of 2023, the company is being acquired by no less than Microsoft.
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