Microsoft CEO Is Confident About Activision Deal Approval, Handling of Economy

(Bloomberg) — Microsoft Corp. chief executive officer Satya Nadella said he’s confident the company can get regulatory approval for its $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard Inc., even in the face of an incoming one official inquiry in Great Britain.

“Of course, any acquisition of this magnitude is subject to scrutiny, but we’re very, very confident that we’ll get out,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

Microsoft is either the fourth or fifth largest competitor in the video game industry, depending on how you count, he said. And the No. 1, Sony Group Corp., recently made several acquisitions. “So when it comes to competition, let’s have competition,” Nadella said.

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The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority announced earlier this month that it had decided to launch a lengthy review, a move that was expected after the CMA raised concerns that the deal would increase competition in the console, subscription and subscription markets and cloud games could decrease. The merger with Activision — which owns franchises like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Guitar Hero — will make Microsoft the third-largest gaming company in the world.

Nadella also expressed optimism that Microsoft can cope with a weakening economy and rising inflation — and help its customers weather the same.

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“The constraints are real – inflation is definitely all around us,” he said. “I keep coming back to the point that in an uncertain time, in an inflationary time, software is the deflationary force.”

Microsoft is focused on “ensuring that our customers can do more with less,” Nadella said. “So in terms of the outlook, I’m bullish on Microsoft’s value proposition. I’m bullish on our stock, but we’re not immune to macro headwinds.”

The company has slowed hiring and eliminated many open positions, including at its Azure cloud business and security software unit, and in Windows and Office, Bloomberg News reported earlier this year. Nadella said the company will continue to grow in some areas after hiring about 70,000 new employees during the pandemic.

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“We’re going to be more conscious,” he said.

Microsoft will “take the same drug that does more with less,” Nadella said. “We have a lot of companies that are doing really super well and will continue to grow, but we will also look at the macroeconomic situation.”

As the company continues to grow and increase productivity, “we’ll be able to navigate the waters,” he said.

©2022 Bloomberg LP

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