Microsoft is inching towards completing its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, possibly sealing the deal next month.
Sources have told Seeking Alpha that Microsoft and Activision Blizzard have responded to a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) “Second Request” – a step in the regulatory approvals process where the FTC seeks more information from both companies – and both companies have turned over the requested information to American regulators. This gives the FTC up to 30 days to review the data before deciding either to approve the merger, or oppose it in court.
After reviewing information from the Second Request and studying the effects of a merger on competition and the market, the FTC can either approve the merger, oppose the merger in court, or issue provisions or changes to the deal before approval. Assuming all goes well Microsoft and Activision Blizzard, the deal will be the biggest merger in the video games industry, with Microsoft paying $68.7 billion for the embattled games publisher.
That said, things aren’t entirely out of the woods yet for Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The FTC can still seek an extension of the review period as it studies what information it has and assesses the merger’s effect on competition in the games industry. Another possible hurdle is that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the UK’s competition regulator, is also studying the merger. The CMA is holding a consultation on the matter, and has set a deadline for itself of September 1, 2022 to give its initial decision on whether the merger would give Microsoft an unfair competitive advantage in the video games industry.
If the deal pushes through, Microsoft will gain ownership over a broad array of video game franchises and hit titles, including the Call of Duty games, Overwatch, Diablo, and Candy Crush. At the same time, Microsoft and the Xbox team will also have to deal with a slew of outstanding issues, including continuing fallout from allegations of misconduct, and a culture of harassment and sexual abuse said to be aided and abetted by those at the top of the C suite itself, including noted scumbag and CEO Bobby Kotick.