Microsoft corp Chief Executive Satya Nadella said he is confident the company can gain regulatory approval for the $ 69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard Inc. even in the face of a thorough regulatory investigation in the UK.
“Obviously, any acquisition of this size will be scrutinized, but we are very, very confident that we will get out of it,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
Nadella’s prediction puts it at odds with investor skepticism about the deal.
While Activision rose Thursday, outperforming a slump in tech stocks, Wednesday’s close of $ 75.32 still left the company more than 20% below the offer price, a sign of huge doubts that Microsoft will never be able to consume the transaction.
Microsoft is the No. 4 or n. 5 competitor in the video game industry, depending on how you count, Nadella said. and the No. 1 player, Sony Group Corp., has made several recent acquisitions.
“So if it’s about competition, let’s compete,” he said.
UK Competition and Markets Authority said earlier this month which decided to initiate a longer review, a move expected after the CMA signaled concerns that the deal could reduce competition in the console, subscription and cloud gaming markets.
The combination with Activision, which owns franchises such as 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 weaker economy and rising inflation and help its customers hold on as well.
“The constraints are real: inflation is definitely around us,” he said. “I always go back to the point that in an uncertain time, in an inflationary time, software is the deflationary force.”
Microsoft is committed to “ensuring that our customers are able to do more with less,” said Nadella.
“So, in terms of prospects, I’m optimistic about Microsoft’s value proposition. I am optimistic about our share, but we are not immune to everything that is a macroeconomic headwind. “
The company has slowed hiring and the elimination of many open jobs, including in its Azure security and business cloud software unit, as well as in Windows and Office, Bloomberg News reported earlier this year.
Nadella said the company will continue to grow in some areas after adding around 70,000 workers during the pandemic.
“We will be more deliberate,” he said.
Microsoft wants to “take the same medicine, it’s doing more with less,” Nadella said. “We have many companies that are doing very well and will continue to grow, but we will also look at what the macroeconomic situation is.”
With the company continuing to grow and increase productivity, “we will be able to navigate the waters,” he said.