Microsoft-Activision-Blizzard Discussion Thread

True, we should be prepared for the fact that on-going deals will restrict them for the first couple years however but there is certainly plenty they can do once the deal actually closes.

1 Like

So I was lurking the Xbox thread on other era and found a really interesting post a user made about the MS-ABK deal.

Take it with a grain of salt and everything, but user named Idas who is apparently an European Lawyer said the following (I want to share it with this community in case someone missed it):

An abridged version of the process would be as follows (if later I have more time I’ll explain it in more detail):

  • The two big regulatory organizations (FTC and the European Commission) have 30 and 25 days respectively to provide an answer once the merger/acquisition notification has been sent.

  • That notification hasn’t been sent yet. But the original press release said that the deal would close in the Fiscal year 2023. That means as soon as the 1st of July of 2022.

  • For that to be possible they have to sent the notification by the end of this month, May. That way, if the FTC/EC don’t answer in 30/25 days, the deal would be closed by the beginning of July (that’s not going to happen, but in theory it could and that’s why MS said that it could be closed in Fiscal Year 2023).

  • If the European Commission/FTC require more time (in this case no doubt that they will), the “second request” phase begins.

  • Here the deadlines are a bit more flexible, but not in Europe. The European Commission has to provide an answer in 90/120 days to the second request. The FTC can take a little bit longer, but not much longer because FTC and EC coordinate with each other in these processes.

  • The second request phase usually implies lots of information. That’s why usually it takes longer and it’s very expensive. But if you have the money and manpower (and MS does) you can accelerate the process by weeks.

  • By the end of the 90/120 days deadline the FTC/EC have to provide an answer: 1) no problem; 2) no problem but you have to make these concessions (normally known before the notification) 3) they oppose to the deal and can go to court.

  • So, if by the end of May they sent the notification, by the beginning of July the first phase should be finished.

In summary: this a legal process, there are deadlines that the regulatory institutions have to comply with and some parts of the process can be accelerated by the parties if they have the resources.

Again, take it with a grain of salt but if true, we may now know in what part of the process the deal is. Thanks Idas!

3 Likes

Good summary :+1:

Interestingly the FTC now provides an "at your own risk closure now. ". They can review afterwards and force the company to divest all the merger assets.

FTC to Send Warnings That Companies Close “at Their Own Risk” Despite Waiting Period Expiration | McGuireWoods.

I believe that is for smaller firms though, because they only have so many resources.

2 Likes

Yeah and I don’t think it will be that long for them to get an answer (well, not at the point of waiting after July next year). I believe this is has to be one of the acquisitions that has priorities over the others.

Found this online. A dev testifying to the FTC and DOJ.

Here’s an excerpt.

A dev has urged that working conditions must be considered throughout testifying in a hearing held by the FTC and DOJ yesterday. Brice Arnold, a researcher for the company, fears that industry consolidation - and therefore, fewer employers - will give bosses an unfair advantage, and take away workers’ bargaining power

I’ll admit: this testimony has me on edge. I’m 60/40 it will pass.

https://www.thegamer.com/activision-blizzard-dev-merger-microsoft-ftc-doj-testimony/

This is irrelevant. This guys feelings have to be backed up by data, and not just some data, a unimpeachable amount of data capable of winning a federal lawsuit against one of the biggest corporations, and American political donors, in the world proving that there would be “less employers” and result in what he is claiming.

That data doesn’t exist as the industry is nowhere near consolidated.

2 Likes

I doubt that will have an effect. Working conditions should be taken in to account, and I’m sure they will be regardless of what this person says while testifying. We shouldn’t want people to have terrible working conditions just so we can get more games quicker.

From what we’ve seen of MS though, they’re not making working conditions worse for their studios. Given 343 and Bethesda have the authority to delay the biggest xbox releases, as well as them being managed in a way that those delays were necessary, I’m fairly certain that the working demands and culture are set by the individual studios or publishers, not by MS.

MS aren’t their bosses, Activision (or Bethesda, or 343, etc.) are their boss, so the numbers of potential bosses and workers bargaining power to move jobs stays the same. MS own them and fund them, which allows games to get released ‘when ready’ and, you would hope, helps avoid having to crunch to meet deadlines.

I would expect working conditions to improve for Activision employees under MS ownership

Complete agree with testimony and there demands

But till now, I haven’t understood the area of authority of FTC yet. Should not employee concerns be addressed in by some HR authority of the government? What role even FTC could play here? It’s more stretching for straw here

FTC does not deal with working conditions. That’s the whole point of that bill that some senators are trying to push.

Nobody will able to build a case against Microsoft there, considering that Microsoft is literally the best place to work and is well-known for that.

If it puts you on the edge, just stop following the acquisition.

It is like with Twitter - if people can’t handle it, they should not participate there.

I read that the one of the member (who is a anti GAFAM) that has been nominated to the FTC recently could be changed again depending of the midterm elections.

Delay of Starfield and Redfall, could be a huge impact on the analysis. Could, if you put with no fanboy side of view, a look on the market right now (and that’s the first job of the FTC on acquisitions right?), Their is no way someone could told that COD is “market killer”.

Fact

  • COD sell less than Elden ring this year

  • Xbox has a huge Gap on time between games release (bigger that competition)

  • COD Br, has less player than GTA online

  • PS+ has more subscribers than GamePass (yeh good idea Sony to turn your network access into your gamepass for “winning” in the number)

  • Even if the Acquisition go through, Xbox will still be the second constructor in term of revenues (and probably the third in term of net income)

This is the kind of data that could be put in front of the FTC

1 Like

Brad Smith recently made some declarations about how MS will “tackle” with new regulations coming to big tech in EU and although he was more focused on the antitrust claims made by some cloud providers on Europe. He also implies (kind of) what MS will do to these new rules worldwide.

The transcript is in French and I couldn’t find it anywhere in English so I will post the interesting stuff (with google translator :p):

https://www.lecho.be/entreprises/technologie/brad-smith-president-de-microsoft-donnez-nous-des-regles-et-nous-trouverons-comment-innover-avec-elles/10389607.html

Microsoft President Brad Smith: “Give us rules and we’ll figure out how to innovate with them”

Brad Smith was Microsoft’s chief legal officer for a very long time. In 2015, Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, inducted him as president of the company behind Windows software, the Xbox console and the LinkedIn social network. He is the man in charge of talking to the authorities who are trying to regulate the technology sector after years of the Wild West. He is currently on tour in Europe, the opportunity for the Echo to sit with him for a few minutes in the cozy setting of the Solvay library in Brussels.

He said MS still have more work to do and this is just the first step in making happy those complaining on EU (paraphrasing e.e)

We still have to work on interoperability. I asked our teams to look into this. We made a commitment to Europe regarding the interoperability of our services, but that dates back 13 years. The concerns of European companies over the prices charged are a reminder that we may not have given enough thought to this problem in the past.

It was important for us to come today with important and concrete changes. And do it quickly. It would have been a big mistake for me to come to Brussels and say “this is our last word”. We’re not going to be able to fix everything all at once. We want to move fast, get feedback quickly on what we offer, learn fast and we will continue to adapt.

“What do you think of the European Digital Market Act? What will this new European regulation of Tech giants change for Microsoft and its dominant position in the market?” They asked him.

We try to adapt as quickly as possible in the company to be ready for the DMA. We need to identify the services that will be affected by this new legislation. Windows will more than likely be, our app store too, but we’re not sure yet. Concretely, we have a group of lawyers and a group of engineers working to look at this and make sure that we are doing everything we need to do and as quickly as possible. We do not yet know if other of our services will be affected, such as Bing, our internet browser.

When I think of our experience with antitrust proceedings, the number of days, months and years it took us, I wish someone had just told us what the rules were so we could go through them. It’s so hard for a company that is involved in this type of procedure, because you have this uncertainty hanging around and it damages the reputation of the company. So I think it will serve everyone that the rules are clearly defined.

And most interesting of all…he talked about the Microsoft-Activision acquisition!!! It was short though…but he said its moving fast :eyes:

You recently acquired Activision, one of the leaders in the gaming industry for $68 billion. Here too, you risk having to show your credentials to prove that the competition can still have a say. Where is this redemption process? They asked. You recently acquired Activision, one of the leaders in the gaming industry for $68 billion. Here too, you risk having to show your credentials to prove that the competition can still have a say. Where is this redemption process?

It’s moving fast, at least fast enough for an acquisition of this size. We have received requests for information on this subject here in Brussels, but also in London and Washington. We answer questions, we give briefings and we provide the information requested. One of our attorneys summed it up nicely by saying, “We’re coming to the end of the beginning and now we’re entering the beginning of the middle.” It is a long process and we are still at the stage where we are answering questions. For us, of course, the sooner it is done the better, but we will respect the process.

Seems there’s not second thoughts about the acquisition in Microsoft :thinking:

6 Likes

Im sticking with my original prediction of it closing around the 1-year anniversary of the announcement. January 2023.

I think it closes November 2022. MS dropping all ABK gamrs on XGP as part of thier holiday lineup.

5 Likes

That’d be awesome

4 Likes

I hope it closes as soon as possible, but if the first phase took 5 months, as framed by Brad Smith, and there are two phases left, Im gonna just assume that its going to take longer than i’d like.

Then Ill be pleasantly surprised if/when it closes earlier.

I think they knew what they were getting into when they made the offer. The road will be rocky and I only expect it to be finalized around April next year but the benefits would be huge.

Oooh some good news it seems

Brad Smith, President and Vice Chair at Microsoft on the progress of the Activision Blizzard acquisition: “This is progressing quickly, at least fast enough for an acquisition of this size.”

5 Likes

Potentially it might close by the end of year.