Since Microsoft announced that he would buy Activision Blizzardthe eyes have been shared between the impressive catalog of intellectual property that would remain under the control of those from Redmond, the very serious scandal over the allegations of sexual harassment that even splashes Bobby Kotick, the company’s CEO, and the regulatory stumbling block that would be a business of such magnitude. And in these lines we will focus on the latter, since they have been known details of the approach the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will take to its investigation.
As reported Informationthe approach of the US body that presides over Lina Khan I would put special emphasis on three topics. On the one hand, in the access that both companies would have to the public’s data; on the other, in the labor market of the video game developer studio; and finally, how the transaction would impact workers who have sued Activision Blizzard for discrimination, harassment and other workplace harassment.
However, this would not be all. The aforementioned report also mentions that the regulators will also study the hypothetical impact that the agreement would have on a “competitive metaverse”. This makes sense, as Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, has publicly mentioned that they see Activision Blizzard as a fundamental piece to build your vision of a life in virtuality.
“The metaverse is essentially about making games. It’s about being able to put people, places or things into a physics engine and then have them all relate to each other. […] For me, being great at making games gives us permission to build this next platform, which is essentially the next internet: embodied presence. Today, I play a game, but I’m not in the game.”
Satya Nadella, on the importance of Activision Blizzard in the construction of the Metaverse.
FTC investigation into business between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard takes shape
The investigation that the Federal Trade Commission will carry out into the agreement between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard is still in a very early phase. In fact, last month the agency requested that both companies provide more information regarding the business valued at almost 69,000 million dollars.
The regulatory implications of the transaction have been on the lips of financial analysts since day one. It is that it was announced just when it exists growing pressure from the political arch of the United States to control more firmly the companies that move hellish amounts of money.
In addition, the Federal Trade Commission has toughened its stance against such acquisitions since Lina Khan became president. In fact, the aggressiveness of the organization would have been crucial for NVIDIA to throw in the towel and abandon the purchase of ARM, valued at 40 billion dollars.
But beyond that, from Microsoft they assure that the purchase of Activision Blizzard does not represent a risk for the competition. The argument of those from Redmond is based on two pillars: that the video game market is highly fragmented, and that even after closing this agreement they will not be the ones that generate the most income in the industrysince that merit will remain in the hands of Tencent.
Regulators will dig deep into uncomfortable issues
Of the three main focuses of the FTC investigation, at least two are already uncomfortable topics for both Microsoft and Activision Blizzard. The video game developer is likely to feel that regulators are poking a finger at it by inquiring about its job market. After all, the company itself has recognized that it has serious problems retaining its employees and attracting new talent. “If we are unable to attract additional qualified personnel or retain and use the services of key personnel, we can expect this to negatively affect our business,” he said.
And what about the complaints of sexual harassment and toxicity in the workplace that have not already been said. It does seem that the entity’s position on this point is in line with the recent claim of a group of US senators.
Lawmakers asked the FTC not to overlook the impact that the sale of Activision Blizzard would have on its employees. “The proposed merger has already impeded unionization efforts and undermined workers’ calls for accountability,” they said. But they also assured that the approval of the business would protect Bobby Kotickwho would leave the company with a millionaire compensation and without having to give explanations on the subject.
Meanwhile, Microsoft maintains that it will not look the other way in the face of this delicate situation. However, it is still somewhat opportunistic that the first talks to stay with Activision Blizzard began just days after the scandal broke out over allegations of sexual harassment.