As Microsoft begins to feel more and more unhappiness from regulators over its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, CEO Satya Nadella said he is “very confident” the deal will go through.
Government scrutiny of the Microsoft acquisition has intensified in recent weeks, with the UK Competition and Markets Authority announcing that it is moving into a deeper “Phase 2” of its investigation, deciding that the acquisition will lead to “a realistic prospect of a significant reduction in competition in gaming consoles, subscription services, multiple games and cloud gaming services.”
Sony, too, has been increasingly vocal about the proposed deal, especially with regard to the potential exclusivity of a console like Call of Duty. Earlier this month, for example, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan called Microsoft’s assurances that the hugely popular shooter would remain on PS5 after the acquisition “inadequate.”
It was in this setting that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella once again discussed the acquisition, dismissing recent developments as the norm. “Of course, any acquisition of this magnitude will be scrutinized,” he told Bloomberg, “but we are very, very confident that we will go out.”
Nadella also claimed that Microsoft is the No. 4 or No. 5 competitor in the video game industry, noting that Sony, which he called the biggest, has recently made a number of major acquisitions of its own. “So if it’s about competition, let’s have competition,” he said.
Since last year, Sony has acquired video games including Returnal Housemarque developer, Haven Studios Jade Raymond, Demon’s Souls Bluepoint remake developer, PC ports specialist Nixxes Software, British studio Firesprite, mobile game developer Savage Game Studios, Valkyrie Entertainment and possibly first turn , The Destiny of Bungie Studios. While as a business lawyer and renowned host of the video game industry legal podcast Virtual Legality, Richard Hoegh observable after Nadella’s comments, “Perhaps you could fit every acquisition in gaming history into the size of a deal with ABK.”
Expect a lot more back and forth as regulatory scrutiny of Microsoft’s acquisition continues. If all goes well, the deal is expected to be approved by next summer.