While it feels like it was only yesterday, Microsoft has been working to close the Zenimax/Bethesda acquisition since September of 2020. Microsoft proposed to buy the company for $7.5 billion and today, the company has cleared the last hurdle to complete the acquisition.
With the regulatory hurdles out of the way, the last remaining step for Microsoft will be to send the funds to complete the transaction and of course, sign all the paperwork. But with nothing but a wire-transfer and a couple of signatures left to complete, I would expect the acquisition to close in the very near future.
Here is how the EU justified its approval:
The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, given the combined entity’s limited market position upstream and the presence of strong downstream competitors in the distribution of video games. The transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedure.
This is Microsoft’s largest gaming acquisition in the company’s history with Minecraft being the second at $2.5 billion, this is a huge bet for the company. There is little doubt that Microsoft will use the new IP to help bolster the company’s Game Pass subscription service and it will add a number of popular titles like Doom, Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Wolfenstein, and many more to Game Pass.
The bigger question is what will Microsoft do with titles that are in development for PlayStation consoles once they officially close the deal. Will they pull all those titles from development or will they let those titles ship and have Xbox content on PlayStation?
Considering that the development of games for PlayStation likely involves contracts that were signed years ago, I would think they would complete those agreements to avoid a breach of contract but for follow-up titles, I fully expect Microsoft to give strong or more than likely exclusive preference to Microsoft platforms.
With the regulatory hurdles out of the way, look for Microsoft to announce here in the near future that they have completed the transaction.