“Teflon” Bobby Kotick is now taking off on a warpath against entire countries. Activision Blizzard’s CEO took to CNBC and FOX Business this week to address the United Kingdom’s regulators – who have made potential moves against ABK’s merger with Microsoft, and had some cutting words for those that aim to shoot down the deal.
Well, if you look at the UK, and you think of the post-Brexit UK, it’s probably the first country where you’re seeing a recession. The real severe consequences of recession. If you’re the UK, with an incredibly educated workforce, places like Cambridge where the best AI and machine learning is, I would think you’d want to embrace a transaction like this where you’re going to see job creation and opportunity. It isn’t at all about whether it’s Sony or Microsoft’s platform, it’s about the future of technology. [Prime Minister] Rishi Sunak has said that he wants the UK to be seen as the Silicon Valley of Europe. If deals like this can’t get through, they’ll not be the Silicon Valley, they’ll be the Death Valley.
World War Bob!!! I’m going to be completely honest, I kinda love Bobby embracing a full heel angle here and just taking on entire international superpowers so he can hang onto his golden parachute. He’s got some very salient points, arguing that the Microsoft and ABK deal is an avenue for western video game companies to meaningfully penetrate “protected markets” in the eastern hemisphere that are currently dominated by Chinese and Japanese companies like Tencent, Nintendo, and Sony.
Bob’s also mentioned recently that Sony isn’t even returning ABK or Microsoft’s calls, and makes it sound like they have made efforts to partner together to discuss future opportunities.
Microsoft has a ton of sway when it comes to tech investments and opportunities, and the UK will likely need them to play ball if they have any interest in building out their home-grown tech sector and job opportunities as their Prime Minister has claimed. I’m no economist or analyst or financial professional, but I can’t imagine Microsoft feeling generous or friendly in that regard if the UK CMA goes out of their way to block one of the biggest tech mergers of all time, and one of the most significant ones in the history of the gaming industry.
Only time will tell how the rest of this Microsoft and ABK merger will unfold. Last time I checked, the merger was supposed to actually complete this June, but who knows what other roadblocks international regulators may put in front of it at this point. One thing is for sure though, Bobby’s not afraid to jump on international business cable to roast your ass if you do.
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