It was an operation that lasted almost 2 years, and Microsoft gave up nothing during this long journey. Initial opposition was strong, of course, with more or less objective “fears” on the part of competitors and the blocking of authorities supposed to protect the market from free competition. Part of the epilogue to this marathon was reached in the last few days, when the British antitrust authority approved the takeover of US publisher Activision by Redmond giant Microsoft. This followed a green light from Europe.
Microsoft / Activision: an operation without equal in the history of the industry.
The deal is expected to close at around $75 billion. It follows a September 2020 deal in which Microsoft acquired Bethesda for $7.5 billion. At the time, the market hailed it as one of the biggest deals in the history of the video game industry… But Microsoft’s ambition is still there, and it’s about to materialize. By focusing on the PC with its Xbox, but also on the cloud, the group headed by Satya Nadella aims to become the “Netflix of video games”. Today, Game Pass provides access to a portfolio of several hundred games. It already has 25 million paying subscribers worldwide. With a library that will inevitably explode, its mass adoption has only just begun.
There is still one “small” obstacle for Microsoft, and paradoxically it comes from within. The operation has not yet been approved in the USA. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has still not validated the deal, but it is considerably weakened. The FTC’s legal actions to block the Activision takeover have been rejected twice in quick succession (its latest appeal was rejected). A slap in the face that has blurred public perception of the FTC’s action, while all other jurisdictions have validated the deal. Even though the FTC is not giving up on the case – it has just appealed again, this time to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit – this procedure is no longer capable of blocking Microsoft. The action is not suspensive, and Microsoft has therefore decided to make the deal official.