Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has confidence in Activision deal

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, says the company will be more “deliberate” in hiring if it weathers a recession.

Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft Corp. said he is confident the company can obtain regulatory approval for the purchase of Activision Blizzard Inc. at $69 billion, even in light of an in-depth UK regulatory investigation.

“Of course any acquisition of this magnitude will be subject to critical scrutiny, but we are confident that we will get out of it,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

Nadella’s prediction puts him at odds with investor skepticism about the deal. While Activision rose Thursday and outperformed a slump in technology stocks, Wednesday’s $75.32 close left the company still more than 20% below its bid price — a signal of huge doubt whether Microsoft will ever be able to close the transaction. to complete.

Microsoft is either the No. 4 or No. 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 this is about competition, let’s have competition,” he said.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority said earlier this month it had decided to launch a longer review, a move expected after the CMA raised concerns that the deal could challenge competition in the console, subscription and cloud gaming markets. Reduce. 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 his optimism that Microsoft can cope with a weaker economy and rising inflation — as well as help its customers persevere.

“The restrictions are real — inflation is absolutely all 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 focused on “ensuring that our customers can do more with less,” Nadella said. “So in terms of the outlook, I’m optimistic about Microsoft’s value proposition. I am optimistic about our stock, but we are not immune to macroeconomic headwinds.”

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

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

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

As the company continues to grow and productivity continues to increase, “we can navigate the waters,” he said.

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