Moss Calls for “Hard Look” at Microsoft-Activision Blizzard Deal

In Chicago Sun Times’ January 19 article “Microsoft’s Activision buy could shake up video gaming, but is it good for gamers?” AAI President Diana Moss said the $68.7 billion deal deserves a hard look by antitrust regulators.

From the article:

Regulators and rivals could turn up the pressure to block the deal.

Meta, Google, Amazon and Apple all have attracted scrutiny from U.S. and European antitrust regulators. The Biden administration has moved to strengthen enforcement against anticompetitive mergers.

And the Activision deal is so big — potentially the priciest tech acquisition to date — that Microsoft will be putting itself into the regulatory spotlight.

“I think it should get a hard look, and it probably will get a hard look,” said Diana Moss, president of the American Antitrust Institute.

Regulators could ask about Microsoft making games exclusive to its own systems and about whether the company would harness user data gained in the acquisition to aid its other businesses.

If the deal fails, Microsoft will owe Activision a “breakup fee” of up to $3 billion. That should motivate Microsoft to make concessions to antitrust regulators to get it done, said John Freeman, vice president at CFRA Research.