Microsoft notifies the EU competition watchdog of its intent to acquire Activision.
The European competition authority announced in a document on Friday that it had established a temporary deadline of November 8 to approve the $68.7 billion merger or decide to move into a second, more thorough probe phase.
The European Commission will conduct a “phase I” evaluation of the pact over the upcoming weeks.
The objective is to determine if the merger will significantly lessen market competition, for instance by forming dominant firms that are likely to raise consumer prices.
The Commission will start a phase II study, which is a more thorough assessment of the merger’s implications on competition, if it decides after its probe that it still has reservations about the transaction.
Regulators and other parties engaged in the Microsoft and Activision combination anticipate a protracted EU investigation, the Financial Times reported last month.
According to a Brussels insider who is alleged to be aware with the transaction, “It is a huge deal, a difficult deal.” “It requires a thorough inquiry.”
Regulators from around the world are reviewing the deal because of antitrust concerns at a time when the gambling sector is becoming more consolidated.
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said earlier this month that a variety of issues had led to the formal expansion of its investigation into the merger into a second phase.
Given that Microsoft would acquire control of the Call of Duty franchise, the CMA is particularly concerned about the impact the acquisition would have on PlayStation’s capacity to compete.
After Sony’s existing marketing agreement with Activision ends, Xbox head Phil Spencer stated earlier this month that Microsoft had promised to continue keeping Call of Duty available on PlayStation for “many more years.”