EU antitrust regulators have extended their deadline for a decision on Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of “Call of Duty” maker Activision to April 25, according to a European Commission filing on Wednesday.
The Xbox maker announced the Activision Blizzard deal in January last year to help it compete better with leaders Tencent and Sony but has encountered regulatory hurdles in Europe, Britain and the United States.
It is expected to offer remedies to the EU competition enforcer soon.
On January 18, 2022, Microsoft announced its intent to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion in cash. Under the terms of the agreement, which would be expected to close by Spring 2023 pending regulatory and shareholder approval, Microsoft would own Activision, Blizzard Entertainment, and King under the Xbox Game Studios brand.
The acquisition would give Microsoft ownership of franchises including Call of Duty, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, Overwatch, and Candy Crush. If approved by international regulators, it would be the largest video game acquisition in history. Both the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the European Commission (EC) had formally filed complaints to block the acquisition on the basis that the merger would hinder competition.
Activision Blizzard is one of the largest video game publishers in the world, with annual revenues of about $8.8 billion in 2021. The company is composed of five business units: Activision Publishing, Blizzard Entertainment, King, Major League Gaming, and Activision Blizzard Studios. Among its assets are ownership of Call of Duty, Crash Bandicoot, and Spyro from Activision’s studios; Warcraft, Diablo, StarCraft, and Overwatch from Blizzard Entertainment; and Candy Crush Saga from King.
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