Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is confident that the company’s proposed $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard will be approved by regulators. Speaking to Bloomberg, Nadella said it’s understandable that an acquisition of this size–the biggest ever for Microsoft and one of the largest in history across the technology space–would “go through scrutiny.” That being said, Nadella said Microsoft is “very, very confident that we’ll come out.”
The executive went on to point out that Microsoft is not the biggest player in gaming–he estimated that Microsoft is the No. 4 or No. 5 player in the space, with Sony being first. “So if this is about competition, let us have competition,” Nadella said.
Nadella’s comments came after the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority launched a more extensive investigation into the buyout. The CMA said it is “concerned” that Microsoft’s proposal to buy Activision Blizzard could “substantially lessen competition” for sales of game consoles, subscription services, and cloud gaming networks.
A spokesperson for Sony said it “welcomes the announcement” of further scrutiny by the UK government into Microsoft’s deal. Should Microsoft be allowed to buy Activision Blizzard, the deal would have “major negative implications for gamers and the future of the gaming industry,” Sony said.
A lot of discussion and debate about the proposed Microsoft buyout of Activision Blizzard has centered around Activision’s Call of Duty series. Microsoft has pledged to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for years to come, but Sony says Microsoft’s proposals are not good enough.
In addition to the console space, mobile is the biggest and fastest-growing segment of gaming, which is part of why Microsoft is pushing so hard to buy Activision Blizzard and acquire its Candy Crush division.
“To reach the billions of players where they are and no matter what device they play on, we need to embrace choice. Giving players choice in how they play their games makes gaming more accessible and leads to larger, more vibrant communities of players,” Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer said. “Choice is equally important to developers. Developers benefit from having a diversity of distribution and business models for their games. Choice unlocks opportunities for innovation and enables the industry to grow.”
So far, some seven months after Microsoft announced its proposal to buy Activision Blizzard, only Saudi Arabia has approved the deal. New Zealand’s decision is due November 11.
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