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EU approves Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, clearing huge hurdle


Microsoft logo is seen on a smartphone placed on displayed Activision Blizzard’s games character.Dado Ruvic | ReutersEuropean Union regulators on Monday approved Microsoft’s proposed $69 billion acquisition of gaming firm Activision Blizzard, subject to remedies offered by the U.S. tech giant.The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, said that Microsoft offered remedies in the nascent area of cloud gaming that have staved off antitrust concerns. These remedies centered on allowing users to stream Activision games they purchase on any cloud streaming platform.Europe’s green light is a huge win for Microsoft, after the U.K.’s top competition authority last month blocked the deal.Regulators globally have been probing whether Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision could distort competition in the console and cloud gaming market. One area regulators questioned is whether Microsoft might take Activision games and keep them exclusively on the U.S. giant’s own platforms.Activision is behind some of the biggest console and PC games in the world, including the Call of Duty franchise and World of Warcraft. The EU decision comes after the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority last month blocked the deal over concerns that it would reduce competition in the nascent cloud gaming market. The CMA said that Microsoft would find it commercially beneficial to make Activision’s key games, such as Call of Duty, exclusive to its own cloud gaming platforms. The CMA nevertheless said the acquisition would not reduce competition in the console market.Microsoft has faced opposition to the deal from regulators and some of its rivals, including PlayStation games console maker Sony.Microsoft sought to allay the Commission’s concerns over making Activision games exclusive ahead of the EU decision. Microsoft President Brad Smith met with EU officials in February, after which the tech gian …

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