Microsoft seeks EU approval on $7.5 billion ZeniMax purchase


Go ask your father

Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the biggest stories in the gaming industry last year was Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax Media, which saw the former dole out a staggering $7.5 billion for the umbrella group and its subsidiary companies, including publisher Bethesda Softworks.

But despite the initial sale declaration made back in September 2020, Microsoft still has to settle several matters of red tape before the purchase can be completed, the latest of which sees Microsoft appealing to the European Union for its approval of the industry-shaking transaction.

The regulators of the EU must investigate Microsoft’s purchase regarding matters of Antitrust – essentially checking to make sure that the purchase does not break any of the EU’s laws designed to prevent the formation of monopolies. This is a standard stage of legality in mergers of this nature, and was also applied to Tencent’s 2016 purchase of mobile developer King, as well as the 2008 merger that spawned the company we know today as Activision Blizzard.

Shortly after the purchase was announced, Microsoft officials were quick to note that the deal did not necessarily mean future Bethesda products would be Xbox exclusive, noting that game platforms would be decided on a “case-by-case” basis. In fact, out of the gate, Sony will retain its PlayStation exclusivity deal on Bethesda’s Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo.

The EU has until March 5 to complete its investigations and come to a decision, but it remains likely that the commission will offer Microsoft its approval of the ZeniMax purchase, which will then enter its completion stages later in 2021.