Microsoft has requested a hearing on Feb. 21 with EU and national antitrust officials to defend its proposed $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard from potential anti-competitive effects. The hearing comes following a statement of objections from the European Commission, which expressed concern about the potential for the deal to reduce competition in the video game market.
The proposed merger is Microsoft’s attempt to bolster its competitive position in the gaming market against industry leaders Tencent and Sony. The Redmond-based company announced its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard in January 2020 but has since faced pushback from regulators in Europe, Britain, and the United States.
Experts agree that the acquisition could lead to reduced competition in the gaming market and higher consumer prices. The merger could create a formidable rival to industry leaders Tencent and Sony. In contrast, others assert that it will give Microsoft an unfair advantage in the market.
The hearing on Feb. 21 is expected to be closed and will last two days. Microsoft has yet to specify what arguments it will make during the hearing. Still, experts expect the company to focus on the potential benefits of the acquisition to the gaming industry.
The European Commission must now decide whether to approve the acquisition, despite the potential for anti-competitive effects. While the outcome is uncertain, this hearing could make or break Microsoft’s plans to expand its gaming portfolio.