Microsoft’s Activision takeover deal is under investigation by UK antitrust regulator

Microsoft’s Activision takeover deal is under investigation by UK antitrust regulator

Microsoft's Activision takeover deal is under investigation by UK antitrust regulator

Britain’s antitrust watchdog said on Wednesday it had opened an investigation into Microsoft’s $68.7 billion (about Rs 5,431.35 crore) deal to buy Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard. .

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has said it has until September 1 to make its Phase 1 decision on whether the deal between the US tech company and the video game maker Activision would reduce competition in the UK.

The CMA’s Phase 1 investigation will either lead to approval of the deal or a more in-depth Phase 2 investigation.

Microsoft and Activision did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Reuters.

In the biggest game industry deal in history, Microsoft announced in January that it was buying Activision Blizzard. According to data from Refinitiv, the Microsoft-Activision deal would be the largest all-cash acquisition on record. The Redmond-based software giant said when the deal closes, it will become the world’s third-biggest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and the completion of regulatory review and approval by Activision Blizzard shareholders, Microsoft said. The agreement is expected to close in fiscal year 2023. Until the closing of this transaction, Activision Blizzard and Microsoft Gaming will continue to operate independently.

Demand for video games has increased during the pandemic as consumers stuck at home are playing more games for entertainment. Activision’s library of games such as Call of Duty and Overwatch also give Microsoft’s Xbox gaming platform an edge over Sony’s PlayStation, which has enjoyed a more steady stream of exclusive games for years.

In April, Activision Blizzard said nearly 1,100 U.S.-based temporary and contingent QA workers from select divisions would be converted to full-time employees beginning July 1. The company has announced that it will increase the minimum hourly wage for these employees – from the Activision Publishing and Blizzard divisions – to $20 (approximately Rs 1,520) or more and also offer them access to all company benefits. , increasing the total number of full-time employees in the Activision Publishing division by 25%.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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