EU regulator extends the deadline for its decision on Microsoft Activision merger

The European Commission has extended the deadline for making a decision MicrosoftA $69 billion acquisition Activision Blizzard.

In the application submitted on Wednesday, the EU competition authority announced that it had moved the temporary deadline for concluding the agreement by 10 days to April 25.

The move came a day after the EU’s competition boss Margrethe Vestager made the announcement Bloomberg that global regulators must not compete to be the first to decide on mega-deals.

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Last month, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that it was tentative stated that Microsoft’s Activision deal could reduce competition and “lead to higher prices, less choice or less innovation” for players.

The regulator outlined a number of potential structural fixes that could help clear the way for the deal to be approved, including a partial sale by Activision Blizzard that would see it sell the part of the company involved with Call of Duty — something Microsoft has done. said is not possible or realistic.

However, the CMA said it would also consider behavioral remedies like Microsoft’s to make Call of Duty available on other platforms post-merger, although it considers them less favorable than structural ones, which rarely require post-implementation monitoring and enforcement.

Asked if he was surprised by the speed with which the CMA produced its findings, and whether regulators were now in a race to do so, Vestager said: “I think this is a very important debate because we cannot be in a race. We have to serve the specific markets where we have jurisdiction.

“And I also hope that the people who work with us will appreciate that we have a different legislative framework. I think we have the highest bar in Europe, the heaviest legal obligations. We have to make a recent decision that will eventually be made public, but will also have to withstand very strict scrutiny in court .

“The UK system is different, the US system is different. So even if we look at the same transaction in different markets and with different legal regulations, sometimes we come to different results.

Microsoft presented reasons why its acquisition of Activision Blizzard should be approved At the EU oral hearing last week.

The forum allowed Xbox manufacturer handle the statement of objections he recently received from the EU warns of the possible anti-competitive effects of the merger.

In December, the US Federal Trade Commission announced its plans file suit to block the merger.

The EU regulator extends the deadline for the Microsoft Activision merger decision

Wedbush Securities analysts Nick McKay and Michael Pachter responded to the CMA’s findings last month. it was suggested that global regulators engaged in a one-level game.

“The political impact of today’s CMA activity is perhaps the most important,” they wrote. – We read today’s announcement as a signal that the UK knows it has a losing legal argument. In our view, the FTC realized this late last year and rushed to file a lawsuit to block the merger, hoping to be the first to get concessions from Microsoft.

“We believe the CMA reached the same conclusion during its review and accelerated its formal opposition to the trade and proposed remedies to go before the FTC and gain bragging rights. The FTC has yet to offer any proposed remedies, and the CMA has positioned itself as the ‘dragon slayer’ by listing onerous structural remedies.”

The CMA’s final report decision on the deal is due on April 26, a day after the EU’s new deadline.