Up to regulators to decide

Microsoft Addresses Regulatory Concerns in Fresh Bid for Activision Blizzard Takeover

Microsoft’s pursuit of the takeover of gaming giant Activision Blizzard has taken a new turn as the company responds to regulatory concerns and seeks approval from U.K. authorities. In an exclusive interview with CNBC, Microsoft’s vice-chairman and president, Brad Smith, emphasized the company’s commitment to addressing these concerns and highlighted the need for regulators to make informed decisions.

The initial proposal by Microsoft for the acquisition of Activision Blizzard faced rejection, prompting the tech giant to reevaluate its approach. Last week, a revised proposal was submitted to U.K. regulators, reflecting Microsoft’s dedication to overcoming regulatory obstacles.

“We haven’t tried to dismiss them. We haven’t tried to downplay them. We haven’t tried to ignore them,” Smith stated, underlining the company’s proactive stance toward regulatory matters. Microsoft’s strategy has been centered on acknowledging and resolving these concerns rather than sidestepping them.

The new agreement between Microsoft and Activision represents a restructuring that aims to allay regulatory fears while fostering healthy competition. Smith explained that their efforts have led to the creation of a transaction that not only addresses concerns about anti-competitive practices but also supports healthy market dynamics.

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With the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority now tasked with investigating the revised proposal, the decision deadline is set for October 18th. Smith expressed confidence in the measures taken to address regulatory issues, leaving the final verdict in the hands of the regulators.

Under the terms of the new deal, Microsoft will not acquire cloud rights for existing Activision PC and console games, nor will it have control over cloud rights for new games released by Activision for the next 15 years. Instead, the responsibility for these cloud rights will be transferred to French gaming publisher Ubisoft before Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision is completed.

Smith’s perspective on this arrangement extends beyond the immediate transaction. He views this approach as a reflection of how technology companies can collaborate to drive innovation while also ensuring regulatory compliance. This dual objective, according to Smith, can lead to the creation of superior products that benefit consumers and the industry as a whole.

In the rapidly evolving landscape of technology, Smith’s insights underscore the importance of aligning business objectives with regulatory considerations. The Microsoft-Activision case exemplifies a cooperative effort to address concerns while enabling progress and innovation.

As the U.K. regulators deliberate on Microsoft’s revised proposal, the outcome will not only impact the fate of the acquisition but also set a precedent for how technology conglomerates navigate complex regulatory landscapes while striving for growth and advancement.


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