EU antitrust regulators are planning to approve Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision next week, with May 15 as the likeliest date, according to sources with Reuters. The news comes just 14 days after the CMA announced that it would be blocking Microsoft’s proposed deal, defending its decision in a press release that suggested the acquisition, if allowed to pass, would threaten the future of the cloud gaming market. Bloomberg has corroborated Reuters’ report in an article titled “Microsoft’s $69 Billion Deal Set for EU Nod,” which notes that Microsoft still has a big hurdle to contend with in the form of the FTC.
From a Reuters report:
The EU antitrust enforcer is expected to clear the acquisition after Microsoft agreed to licensing deals with cloud streaming rivals including Nvidia, Ukraine’s Boosteroid and Japan’s Ubitus, other people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters in March.
It also has an agreement with Nintendo to bring Activision’s Call of Duty to its gaming platforms should the acquisition go through. U.S. distributor Valve Corp, owner of the world’s largest video game distribution platform, Steam, declined a contract saying it trusts Microsoft.
The Commission, which has set a May 22 deadline for its decision, declined to comment.
From a Bloomberg Law report:
When the US Federal Trade Commission sued to block the merger in December, Microsoft maintained it still had avenues for approval. The Xbox maker’s plan was to persuade UK and EU authorities to accept a global behavioral remedy, then return to negotiations with the FTC. If the US regulator refused to budge, the company wagered it could persuade a US judge that those binding global remedies resolved the competition concerns.
That strategy suddenly became much more challenging with the UK decision reinforcing the FTC’s concerns. As it stands, the FTC trial isn’t set to begin until August and isn’t likely to produce a decision till the end of the year.