Major Microsoft acquisition gets EU approval

Briefly: Microsoft’s $69B planned acquisition of video game maker Activision Blizzard won approval from EU regulators on Monday (15 May). If ultimately successful, the merger will be the largest consumer tech deal in decades.

But that’s still a big ‘if’. The UK regulator blocked the deal last month, citing concerns the merger would limit competition. And the US regulator has likewise sued Microsoft to block the acquisition (the case is scheduled for August).

Intrigue’s take: The divergence between the various regulators highlights duelling challenges in the tech world right now:

  1. 😔 Being a multinational ain’t always easy – winning approval for a deal this size requires sign-off from multiple regulatory bodies, each with their own priorities and criteria, and
  2. 🧐 Being a regulator ain’t easy either – as tech keeps evolving, regulators don’t want to get caught flat-footed the way they did with social media companies. So they’re heeding the call of duty (sorry).

Also worth noting:

  • Microsoft partly won EU approval by promising Activision’s games (like Call of Duty) would be available on all platforms, not just its own Xbox.
  • In response, the UK regulator has said it’s standing by its original decision to block the merger. Microsoft is appealing that decision.