Managing to sidestep the regulatory scrutiny that has embroiled its Big Tech peers, Microsoft (MSFT) now faces multiple antitrust reviews related to its proposed purchase of Activision Blizzard (ATVI) as well as its integration of Teams software. MSFT stock was flat on Friday.
The Federal Trade Commission is likely to file an antitrust lawsuit to block Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of video game publisher Activision, according to Politico. Microsoft announced the deal in January, offering to buy Activision for $95 in cash per share.
Video game rival Sony (SONY) has opposed the Microsoft-Activision combination. Sony is worried that Microsoft could make Activision games like the “Call of Duty” series exclusive to its Xbox consoles and Windows PCs, which would disadvantage Sony’s PlayStation consoles. However, Microsoft has repeatedly promised to keep “Call of Duty” available on Sony’s PlayStation hardware.
Alphabet‘s (GOOGL) Google unit also has opposed the Microsoft-Activision deal. Google has argued that the combination would give Microsoft too much clout in cloud gaming.
Antitrust regulators in Europe and China also are reviewing the Microsoft-Activision deal.
MSFT Stock Flat, Activision Stock Sinks
Activision stock has trended downward since the companies announced the transaction, a sign that investors are skeptical that the deal will close. On the stock market today, Activision stock fell 4.1% to close at 73.47.
Meanwhile, MSFT stock alternated between modest gains and losses. It ended the regular session Friday down a fraction to 247.49.
Elsewhere, the European Union is preparing an antitrust investigation into Microsoft’s integration of its Teams workplace chat and video app into its Windows and Office software, Reuters reported. Salesforce.com (CRM) complained to the EU that the integration disadvantages its workspace messaging app Slack.
Microsoft largely has flown under the radar screen of regulators as other Big Tech firms have come under scrutiny. Government regulators in recent years have turned up the heat on Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Google, and Facebook parent Meta Platforms (META).
Follow Patrick Seitz on Twitter at @IBD_PSeitz for more stories on consumer technology, software and semiconductor stocks.
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