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A March Update on the Microsoft Deal
From Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick sent the following email to staff on Tuesday:
As you know, our proposed merger with Microsoft is under review by regulatory agencies around the world—some coverage of which you may have seen recently in the press. I will continue to provide updates regarding the deal.
We remain confident that the transaction will ultimately be approved. Last month, our team traveled to Brussels and London, with the team from Microsoft, to speak at closed door hearings with the European Commission (EC) and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK. During these hearings, Microsoft proposed thoughtful, generous remedies to address regulators’ concerns, and made additional announcements reinforcing their pledge to bring more games to more players around the world. These included contractual commitments to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo, and games to Nvidia, for 10 years. They recently announced similar cloud services agreements with Boosteroid and Ubitus.
Our proposed merger will help us compete in the increasingly competitive marketplace that includes rapidly growing foreign, powerful companies that enjoy protection in their home markets and access to strong talent pools. The partnership with Microsoft will enable us to more effectively compete against these market-leading competitors.
The good news is, regulators who initially had concerns about console competition are starting to better understand our industry. The data and evidence Microsoft has been presenting are tilting the scale. You may have seen statements from Sony, including an argument that if this deal goes through, Microsoft could release deliberately “buggy” versions of our games on PlayStation. We all know our passionate players would be the first to hold Microsoft accountable for keeping its promises of content and quality parity. And, all of us who work so hard to deliver the best games in our industry care too deeply about our players to ever launch sub-par versions of our games. Sony has even admitted that they aren’t actually concerned about a Call of Duty agreement—they would just like to prevent our merger from happening. This is obviously disappointing behavior from a partner for almost thirty years, but we will not allow Sony’s behavior to affect our long term relationship. PlayStation players know we will continue to deliver the best games possible on Sony platforms as we have since the launch of PlayStation.
We will continue to have discussions with European and UK regulators until the decision dates, which we expect in the coming months. You may have also seen today that the Japan Fair Trade Commission found that the deal wouldn’t harm competition and unconditionally cleared our transaction. We will update you again when we have more information to share.
Our team is working collaboratively with Microsoft to make sure we have answers to the many questions you have about the progress of the merger. We will continue to be helpful, supportive, and transparent as we progress through the regulatory process.
Thank you for staying focused on ensuring our players continue to have the very best games and on maintaining the best workplace for our colleagues.
A February Update on the Microsoft Deal (Feb 8, 2023)
A December Update on the Microsoft Deal (Dec 8, 2022)
Defining the Future: Announcing a Merger with Microsoft (Jan 18, 2022)