Earlier this year, Microsoft announced its intention to buy Activision Blizzard for 68.7 billion dollars. The announcement was a big surprise for the videogame industry, and there are some real concerns about its potential impact. US Sensors Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Sheldon Whitehouse and Cory Booker have now expressed some of those concerns in a letter sent to the President of the FTC, Lina Khan. There have already been reports that the Federal Trade Commission is reviewing the purchase, but the Senators also want the FTC to analyze cultural problems in Activision Blizzard and if this agreement will generate greater problems. Senators also cite concerns about what could mean for competition, unionization and more.
«As this proposed agreement progresses in the review process, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) must evaluate whether the ways in which these companies have failed to protect the rights and dignity of their workers are driven by the power of monopsony Or equivalent to anti-competitive damage in our labor market and, if so, if the merger will exacerbate these problems, “the letter says.
Given the magnitude of the purchase of Activision Blizzard, it is not surprising to see the senators asking for greater scrutiny of the agreement. In fact, Congressman Jerry Nadler expressed similar concerns in January. However, the previous letter does not necessarily mean that the purchase proposed by Microsoft may be in danger; Instead, it only means that more attention could be paid to ensure that the agreement benefits employees and industry as a whole.
The culture surrounding Activision Blizzard has focused a lot in the last year, as accusations on racism, sexism and a culture of “fraternity” began to emerge. As those accusations arose, many in the industry asked the Executive Director Bobby Kotick to resign. It remains to be seen how Microsoft acquisition could affect the company, but there seems to be a strong optimism on the part of employees. However, the agreement will not be closed until 2023, so it could happen some time before we know where things are directed.
Do you think the FTC will approve the purchase of Blizzard Activision by Microsoft? Do you think that the culture of the company would improve with Microsoft? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter in @marcdachamp to talk about everything related to games!