Microsoft Can Expect “Even Greater Regulatory Scrutiny” Following Activision-Blizzard Acquisition – Analyst

GlobalData's David Bicknell says that Microsoft will be expected to "provide a running commentary on the deal’s progress."

Posted By | On 28th, Jan. 2022

Xbox Activision Blizzard

Even with all of the big games coming up and rumors of a new PlayStation event in February, Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision-Blizzard continues to be a big story. In fact, its progress will very likely dominate a lot of the conversations around Microsoft in the coming days. GlobalData’s David Bicknell, who works as the Principal Analyst for the Thematic Research, team pointed out that the company’s second quarter fiscal 2022 results were “overshadowed by its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.”

“Tech acquisitions are now under increasing regulatory scrutiny, so getting the biggest deal in tech history past the regulators will increasingly dominate the narrative around Microsoft.” To illustrate how much more scrutiny it could invite, Bicknell provides the example of Nuance, a speech-to-text company that Microsoft had also acquired.

“Although the Nuance deal has been cleared in the EU and US, it has yet to be cleared by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, and a decision on a further investigation may not come until March 2022. Microsoft can expect even greater regulatory scrutiny for its massive Activision-Blizzard deal and constant chatter about the possible outcome.

“It will be expected to provide a running commentary on the deal’s progress, just as Nvidia has over its protracted pursuit of Arm.” Of course, given reports of Nvidia planning to abandon the deal due to regulator scrutiny, it does create that much concern for Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision-Blizzard.

The latter is expected to conclude in fiscal year 2023 but Microsoft, specifically Xbox boss Phil Spencer, has already spoken about potential plans for Activision-Blizzard’s studios like working on a “variety of franchises.” Stay tuned for more details in the coming months.


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