Activision to pay $35 million to SEC, EU regulators formally object to the Microsoft buy out

Xbox Activision Blizzard Header

A rather bad day over at Activision Blizzard as they are to pay the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) $35 million for “controls and procedures and whistleblower protection rules”. The company did not have a system for addressing workplace misconduct claims and violated whistleblower rules.

The company lacked controls and procedures designed to ensure that information related to employee complaints of workplace misconduct would be communicated to Activision Blizzard’s disclosure personnel to allow for timely assessment on its disclosures.

Because America’s legal system is heavily weighted to help those with lots of money, Activision are paying the $35 million but in doing so are wiggling out of “admitting or denying” they did anything wrong.

Meanwhile over this side of the pond the EU has formally objected to Microsoft buying Activision Blizzard. The EU antitrust team have laid out their objections:

The move comes after the EU launched an in-depth investigation into the deal in November, finding that Microsoft may in the future be incentivized to block access to Activision’s popular “Call of Duty” franchise.

Such foreclosure strategies could reduce competition in the markets for the distribution of console and PC video games, leading to higher prices, lower quality and less innovation for console game distributors, which may, in turn, be passed on to consumers

Microsoft have responded saying “We are listening carefully to the European Commission’s concerns and are confident we can address them.”

The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority is also investigating the deal, as are other similar institutions across the globe. Brazil, Chile, and Saudi Arabia have already approved the deal and while the FTC investigation in the U.S.A. cannot stop the purchase, it would be incredibly difficult to get it through the American court system without approval.

Microsoft may be at a disadvantage as when they were buying Bethesda and Zenimax they told the FTC the deal would not mean new games becoming Xbox console exclusive. A few months after the deal going through, Starfield and Redfall were announced as Xbox exclusives.

“Microsoft has already shown that it can and will withhold content from its gaming rivals,” said Holly Vedova, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition. “We seek to stop Microsoft from gaining control over a leading independent game studio and using it to harm competition in multiple dynamic and fast-growing gaming markets.”

Source: Politco / SEC / GI Biz

Written by
News Editor, very inappropriate, probs fancies your dad.

2 Comments

  1. The difference between ‘formerly’ and ‘formally’ is something I would expect the editor to be aware of lol

    • Ah, he got it right in the headline. One out of two isn’t too bad, is it?

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