EU to Rule on Microsoft Acquisition of Zenimax & Bethesda

Microsoft's Acquisition of Zenimax (and Bethesda Softworks) Must Be Greenlit by EU

Published: February 1, 2021 2:07 PM /


Bethesda Microsoft EU cover

Last year's announcement that Microsoft was acquiring Zenimax Media — and consequently, Bethesda Softworks — still has to overcome regulatory hurdles in the European Union; the EU will make a decision by or before March 2021.

Microsoft first made the announcement that it was acquiring Zenimax Media back in September 2020. One of the most interesting parts of this deal is the fact that Bethesda Softworks is run by Zenimax Media; this means that Microsoft would be effectively in charge of The Elder ScrollsFallout, and whatever the heck Starfield is going to be if the deal goes through.

"As a proven game developer and publisher, Bethesda has seen success across every category of games, and together, we will further our ambition to empower the more than three billion gamers worldwide," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said at the time.

This acquisition could prove to be a serious boon for the company behind the Windows operating system and the Xbox Series X|S, but all is not said and done — EU regulators need to evaluate the acquisition and determine if there are any antitrust issues.

Bethesda Microsoft EU slice

Why the EU is Reviewing Microsoft's Acquisition of Zenimax Media

The EU is reviewing Microsoft's acquisition of Zenimax Media to ensure that it complies with its antitrust regulation as reported by Reuters. The regulation in question is quite the hefty read — unsurprising for legislation — but the gist of it is that the European Union aims to ensure that market competition is not unduly harmed by this acquisition.

Microsoft filed the merger case on Friday. The EU has a deadline of March 5, 2021, to make a decision on how it should move forward. In the best-case scenario, the EU can simply approve the deal and it goes forward without any issues whatsoever.

However, it is possible that there may need to be some sort of concessions put in place before the EU will approve the deal. One such example is a late 2020 merger between European car manufacturers Peugeot and Fiat; the companies put together a package of concessions in that particular case, one of which allows rival companies to service their fans at joint dealerships so as not to unduly harm the competition.

It's unclear what the concessions could look like for Microsoft's acquisition (if any have to be made at all). We'll likely find out more details about what action (if any) the European Union will take on the Zenimax Media acquisition in the coming weeks, as the Microsoft Zenimax deal moves closer to completion.

Do you think Microsoft acquiring Zenimax Media could hurt competition in the gaming space? What do you hope to see as a result of this acquisition? Let us know in the comments below!

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