Microsoft says the Activision Blizzard acquisition is ‘moving fast’
The Xbox owner intends to purchase the Call of Duty publisher for close to $69 billion
Microsoft president Brad Smith has claimed the company’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard is proceeding relatively quickly.
It was announced in January that the Xbox owner intends to purchase Activision Blizzard in a $68.7 billion deal – the game industry’s biggest ever by some distance.
Microsoft said at the time that it hoped to complete the deal in the first half of 2023, subject to closing conditions and the completion of a regulatory review.
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The US Federal Trade Commission is handling an antitrust review of the deal to determine whether the takeover would give Xbox an unfair competitive advantage.
And in a new interview with Belgian business publication L’Echo, Smith said Microsoft has also received requests for information on the deal from European and UK competition regulators.
He also said suggested the acquisition process was now entering its middle phase.
“It’s moving fast, at least fast enough for an acquisition of this size,” said Smith. “We have received requests for information on this subject here in Brussels, but also in London and Washington. We answer questions, we give briefings and we provide the information requested.
“One of our attorneys summed it up nicely by saying, ‘We’re coming to the end of the beginning and now we’re entering the beginning of the middle.’
“It’s a long process and we’re still at the stage where we’re answering questions. For us, of course, the sooner it is done the better, but we will respect the process.”
Microsoft’s proposed merger with Activision Blizzard would give the Xbox maker exclusive ownership of franchises including Call of Duty, Warcraft, Overwatch, Crash Bandicoot and Candy Crush.
Should it gain regulatory approval, Microsoft has said it will continue to release Activision Blizzard games, including Call of Duty titles, for PlayStation consoles following the acquisition and beyond existing contractual agreements, and that it wants to make more of the publisher’s games available to Nintendo players too.