Microsoft acquiring Activision Blizzard for $69 Billion, NICE! Possibly Completes 2022-07 to 2023-06

DSoup

Series Soup
Legend
Supporter
lol it's still live actually! after the Sony document, will he really go through 100 pages of MS document?

He might. He's called Microsoft out on their BS as well, e.g. here:


However, the folks posting the videos dissecting Sony comms are not posting the videos dissecting Microsoft comms. :unsure: He puts out a lot of videos which begs the question, does this guy have any paying clients? However, his understanding the how the CMA (and the EU) work, is misunderstood. He keeps posting about the economics of the industry like that's relevant to the process, where it isn't. It does not matter if company X sell more of product Y than company Z. Nor is the perceived value relevant. That isn't the purpose of these processes and maybe that's a pivotal difference between European and US processes - I know little about the FTC process. If you watch the video covering Sony's document for more than ten minutes, you'll see he is as critical of Microsoft as he is of Sony.

But I think where he is going wrong is trying to apply his knowledge of US processes to European processes, which are probably difference.
 
Last edited:

iroboto

Daft Funk
Legend
Supporter

Do you work with clients remotely?
Yes, Hoeg Law can work with clients virtually anywhere in the world so long as the legal issue pertains to the State of Michigan.

Do you take business litigation cases?
No, Hoeg Law does not practice in business litigation specifically. That is, we do not handle legal disputes involving businesses or contracts. Our law firm specializes in the legal aspects involving starting, managing, operating, or growing a business. If you call with a legal issue for litigation, we’ll likely refer you to a colleague.

Hiring a Video Game Attorney​

The video game development industry has a number of unique legal complexities and challenges that must be addressed by game developers and companies in order to ensure their hard work is protected from infringement and unnecessary legal liabilities. While many larger gaming companies have in-house legal counsel to assist in these matters, most medium to small companies and developers do not have this luxury.

Working with an attorney specializing in video game law is vital in order for companies to ensure the best possible future for themselves and their projects. Hoeg Law has years of experience working with the video game industry, as well as virtually all aspects of small business and contract law. If you are in need of legal representation or assistance for your video game development company or business venture, please contact our office today to find out how we can help.

I think he just does this because he likes to. Not necessarily because he's broke. But he's trying to be a niche perhaps for smaller indies and publishers/developers who may need someone when shit goes wrong. And my general experience of the indie scene, they need people like him, a lot of legal issues pop up there because people don't understand or know the law.

edit:
he just announced Starcontrol 2 is his favourite game of all time. Connection made.
 
Last edited:

Dr. Nick

Veteran
He might. He's called Microsoft out on their BS as well, e.g. here:


However, the folks posting the videos dissecting Sony comms are not posting the videos dissecting Microsoft comms. :unsure: He puts out a lot of videos which begs the question, does this guy have any paying clients? However, his understanding the how the CMA (and the EU) work, is misunderstood. He keeps posting about the economics of the industry like that's relevant to the process, where it isn't. It does not matter if company X sell more of product Y than company Z. Nor is the perceived value relevant. That isn't the purpose of these processes and maybe that's a pivotal difference between European and US processes - I know little about the FTC process. If you watch the video covering Sony's document for more than ten minutes, you'll see he is as critical of Microsoft as he is of Sony.

But I think where he is going wrong is trying to apply his knowledge of US processes to European processes, which are probably difference.
There is a good chance that Sony will take the same arguments to the FTC. So it is worth commenting on since we have only seen arguments being made to CADE, CMA, and EU.
 
Last edited:

DSoup

Series Soup
Legend
Supporter
Do you work with clients remotely?
@iroboto yeah, I went to Richard Hoeg's website a few days back and it stood out because it's lacking in any detail about the size of his legal firm, nor even how many lawyers are retained. This is unusual in that most legal firms will advertise the number of legal professionals working for them, and what their experience is. There are no records of Richard Hoeg ever have represented any firm, which feel exceptions for somebody practising law for over a decade. But he does have a merch store, which it is well known how lawyers make their money. :nope:

Is this relevant? No. I was idly commenting that for a professional lawyer he churns out a high number of YouTube videos and it's always just him, wearing a baseball cap. This neither validates nor invalidates his opinions, but his understanding of European merger legislation is poor yet it doesn't stop him commenting on it. But please buy one of his mugs or beanie hats.
 

iroboto

Daft Funk
Legend
Supporter
@iroboto yeah, I went to Richard Hoeg's website a few days back and it stood out because it's lacking in any detail about the size of his legal firm, nor even how many lawyers are retained. This is unusual in that most legal firms will advertise the number of legal professionals working for them, and what their experience is. There are no records of Richard Hoeg ever have represented any firm, which feel exceptions for somebody practising law for over a decade. But he does have a merch store, which it is well known how lawyers make their money. :nope:

Is this relevant? No. I was idly commenting that for a professional lawyer he churns out a high number of YouTube videos and it's always just him, wearing a baseball cap. This neither validates nor invalidates his opinions, but his understanding of European merger legislation is poor yet it doesn't stop him commenting on it. But please buy one of his mugs or beanie hats.


It's a pretty big law firm that is pretty old.
 

DSoup

Series Soup
Legend
Supporter
There is a good chance that Sony will take the same arguments to the FTC. So it is worth commenting on since we have only seen arguments being made to CADE, CMA, and EU.
I would expect that Sony will largely make the same arguments to most regulators, accounting for variances in local legislation and markets. I.e. like Brazil I doubt Sony's arguments would hold much water in China because the market is minuscule. I welcome informed commentary, but as I posted previously US firm Hoeg's Law videos do not appear well informed on the European process.


It's a pretty big law firm that is pretty old.

I am still unclear on how many lawyers work here, or what their experience is? If you can find this, by all means quote and link it. I can see his many other ventures though. Everything he claims could be made by one guy in an office. Again.. I don't see the relevance.
 

iroboto

Daft Funk
Legend
Supporter
I would expect that Sony will largely make the same arguments to most regulators, accounting for variances in local legislation and markets. I.e. like Brazil I doubt Sony's arguments would hold much water in China because the market is minuscule. I welcome informed commentary, but as I posted previously US firm Hoeg's Law videos do not appear well informed on the European process.



I am still unclear on how many lawyers work here, or what their experience is? If you can find this, by all links quote and link it. I can see his many other ventures though. Everything he claims could be made by one guy in an office. Again.. I don't see the relevance.
Honning
501-1,000 employees
290 on LinkedIn Includes members with current employer listed as Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP, including part-time roles.

Bodman PLC
Company size
201-500 employees
323 on LinkedIn Includes members with current employer listed as Bodman PLC, including part-time roles.

He is currently running Of Counsel on Bodman. Made partner and Of Counsel on Honnig
I'm guessing he's Of Counsel with those places if his own practice fails.

I'm not sure what you mean by the relevance? You've just stated that you don't think there are any records of this guy practicing law. You can't make partner if you don't practice.
 

Cyan

orange
Legend
Supporter

Sony is roughly equivalent in size to Activision and nearly double the size of Microsoft's game publishing business."

"There were over 280 exclusive first- and third-party titles on PlayStation in 2021, nearly five times as many as on Xbox".

It also suggests that Sony has "entered into arrangements with third-party publishers which require the 'exclusion' of Xbox from the set of platforms these publishers can distribute their games on".
 

DSoup

Series Soup
Legend
Supporter
What is Honning? Richard Hoeg's firm is called Hoeg Law LLC, and on LinkedIn he mentionsBodman's PLC. In the legal profession, "of counsel" means nothing more than an affiliation. This means they may throw you work, and you may though the, work. It not a qualification or expression of experience.

I'm not sure what you mean by the relevance? You've just stated that you don't think there are any records of this guy practicing law. You can't make partner if you don't practice.

Being a partner means you have a stake (ownership) of a firm, it does not require you practise. In the US this is covered by BAR rule 5.4, which sets out stipulations for law firms with partners that are not required, nor qualified, to practice law. What you posted is nonsense.

And by relevance, I don't see Richard Hong's legal qualifications or experience as important here - other than folks who may take his position as being meaningful for what he is commenting on. A quick google search shows he majored in economics, which possibly explains why his is also talking about the economics of the games industry. None of which is relative to Europe mergers and acquisition legislation which has nothing to do with economics.
 

iroboto

Daft Funk
Legend
Supporter
What is Honning? Richard Hoeg's firm is called Hoeg Law LLC, and on LinkedIn he mentionsBodman's PLC. In the legal profession, "of counsel" means nothing more than an affiliation. This means they may throw you work, and you may though the, work. It not a qualification or expression of experience.



Being a partner means you have a stake (ownership) of a firm, it does not require you practise. In the US this is covered by BAR rule 5.4, which sets out stipulations for law firms with partners that are not required, nor qualified, to practice law. What you posted is nonsense.

And by relevance, I don't see Richard Hong's legal qualifications or experience as important here - other than folks who may take his position as being meaningful for what he is commenting on. A quick google search shows he majored in economics, which possibly explains why his is also talking about the economics of the games industry. None of which is relative to Europe mergers and acquisition legislation which has nothing to do with economics.
^^ He has literally indicated Associate there before he becomes partner. He _MADE_ partner. Not just _IS_ a partner.

You're being over-reaching here in your attempts to disprove he has been a practicing lawyer before starting his youtube channel.
When did economics have no relationship to business which has no relationship to mergers and acquisitions?
Undergrads of economics often move into accountancy, business, and law - I would know, I worked for the Charted Professional Accountants regulatory body. My university had programs to fast track HBA and HEco students to these types of professional designations after undergrad.

And what he studied at Michigan Law School would likely be what he specialized in, as per his own profile
Rick's practice is focused on the areas of general corporate formation, governance, and finance with particular emphasis on entrepreneurship, venture capital, and mergers and acquisitions. He has worked extensively with start-up and mid-stage enterprises, including those in the life science, software, and technology fields.

If you know Rick, better than Rick himself, go right ahead. But at this point in time, you're way off the mark. You don't have to like what he says, but to claim he has no credentials in this field, is nonsense.
UK law may be different from US law, I'm sure there are differences. To call it a foreign language and to say that US lawyers have no understanding of UK M&A regulatory and law would be entirely different conversation.

Lawyers talk, there is a community, he's not in isolation.
 

Dr. Nick

Veteran

Sony is roughly equivalent in size to Activision and nearly double the size of Microsoft's game publishing business."

"There were over 280 exclusive first- and third-party titles on PlayStation in 2021, nearly five times as many as on Xbox".

It also suggests that Sony has "entered into arrangements with third-party publishers which require the 'exclusion' of Xbox from the set of platforms these publishers can distribute their games on".
I wonder if Microsoft is counting the ones they were available on all platforms except for Xbox as well.
 

DSoup

Series Soup
Legend
Supporter
Sony is roughly equivalent in size to Activision and nearly double the size of Microsoft's game publishing business." .. "There were over 280 exclusive first- and third-party titles on PlayStation in 2021, nearly five times as many as on Xbox".

So Microsoft feel that in order to compete with Sony, in additional to Microsoft's existing 20+ game studios they need to acquire another publisher that is "equivalent in size" to Sony? An equally interesting sentiment is that that "It's suggested for Nintendo these proportions would be even higher due to "the importance of Nintendo's exclusive first-party portfolio".

It's interesting that Microsoft's pitch here is essentially, "we're really bad at this, let us buy up more of the videogame industry so we can compete". To me, this looks like to a pay-to-win business model. Ignoring the sentiment that Microsoft feel Sony has better first party games, the optics here are bad.

You're being over-reaching here in your attempts to disprove he has been a practicing lawyer before starting his youtube channel.

That a wacky statement man when did I claim this? He's been practising law since 2005 which predates his YouTube channel. I honestly don't know what I wrote that made you think this?

When did economics have no relationship to business which has no relationship to mergers and acquisitions?

The economics of an industry has no relevance to the assessment of the reduction of competition from an acqusition in European merger and acquisition legislation. Whether one company is selling more, or make X more profit or loss, than another company is not part of that equation except where non-competitive practises are at play. That's why Microsoft being a much larger firm that Sony has no relevance. The only thing that is relevant is will this acquisition result in a less competitive market.

The question the UK CMA and EU are asking is, based on what Microsoft have done and said, is there a risk that they may leverage this acquisition to make competition more difficult for existing partners and new entrants in the future. Unfortunately for Microsoft, that have a bit of history here. And - at get risk of sounding like a broken record - but which the UK CMA and EU noted - when Microsoft's acqusition of Zenimax was approved, Microsoft publicised that Starfield and the next Elder Scrolls games would be exclusive to Xbox. Which is fine, but which does introduce doubt.

Whilst Microsoft claim that it's not economical to not release games for other platforms, Microsoft clearly decides that it is for some games. So what's the difference? The number of X dollars lost? The question the regulators are occupied with, is it is worth Microsoft losing X dollars in the short term if the long-term consequence is that existing non-Microsoft platform owners flock to Microsoft in the future. It's that simple.

Microsoft is a company who has a history of spending billions and just writing off those losses. The acquisition of implosion of Nokia is the minds of many in Europe and the losses from making Activison-Blizzard games exclusive to Xbox for a decade doesn't even come close to that loss - and that's just one of many acquisitions that Microsoft wrote off shortly after.

If you know Rick, better than Rick himself, go right ahead. But at this point in time, you're way off the mark. You don't have to like what he says, but to claim he has no credentials in this field, is nonsense.

I claim his views do not accurately represent European legislation, hence my statement above. When you predicate so much narrative on indsytru economics which are irrelevant, that speaks for itself.

Lawyers talk, there is a community, he's not in isolation.

This sounds like the sentiment th SB made, that CEOs just chat amongst themselves like we're all kids in the school yard. I genuinely doubt most lawyers care much about videogames other than the business opportunity it represents. I do know from experience, that when when we need advice on US law, we seek external counsel view on that because the differences between UK and US are substantial.
 

iroboto

Daft Funk
Legend
Supporter
That a wacky statement man when did I claim this? He's been practising law since 2005 which predates his YouTube channel. I honestly don't know what I wrote that made you think this?
There are no records of Richard Hoeg ever have represented any firm, which feel exceptions for somebody practising law for over a decade. But he does have a merch store, which it is well known how lawyers make their money.
^^^
Here. These are heavy implications.

Whilst Microsoft claim that it's not economical to not release games for other platforms, Microsoft clearly decides that it is for some games. So what's the difference? The number of X dollars lost? The question the regulators are occupied with, is it is worth Microsoft losing X dollars in the short term if the long-term consequence is that existing non-Microsoft platform owners flock to Microsoft in the future. It's that simple.

Microsoft is a company who has a history of spending billions and just writing off those losses. The acquisition of implosion of Nokia is the minds of many in Europe and the losses from making Activison-Blizzard games exclusive to Xbox for a decade doesn't even come close to that loss - and that's just one of many acquisitions that Microsoft wrote off shortly after.

Where, in any of the documents submitted, indicate that acquiring Activision Blizzard will result in the closure of Activision Blizzard. The regulators need to regulate what will happen to the competition in this case: ie Sony and others. Sony needs to prove, according to Sony's arguments, that the entire gaming industry will collapse as a result of MS acquiring Activision Blizzard. He feels its ridiculous, (myself included), you feel this is valid? If he disagrees with Sony's statement here, he doesn't understand UK/European legislation?


I claim his views do not accurately represent European legislation, hence my statement above. When you predicate so much narrative on industry economics which are irrelevant, that speaks for itself.
He spends the majority of time breaking down the language used in the document. There is nothing wrong about it. Even if biased, it's biased against the arguments made.
Economics is the science of studying business practices, production, alternative goods, and consumer purchasing behaviour - why is this irrelevant discussion? Sony is making the argument that ownership of CoD would cause them to foreclose. That means consumers have absolutely no choice but to buy CoD because there are no substitute goods for it and they will go wherever call of duty goes. It's nonsense.

I do know from experience, that when when we need advice on US law, we seek external counsel view on that because the differences between UK and US are substantial.
When one seeks actual legal counsel this is expected behaviour. No where on his youtube does he indicates that what he does here is legal counsel.
 

BRiT

(>• •)>⌐■-■ (⌐■-■)
Moderator
Legend
Supporter

It seems FTC will challenge Activision Blizzard/MS deal.

Article Context:
A lawsuit challenging the deal is not guaranteed, and the FTC’s four commissioners have yet to vote out a complaint or meet with lawyers for the companies, two of the people said. However, the FTC staff reviewing the deal are skeptical of the companies’ arguments, those people said.


 

BRiT

(>• •)>⌐■-■ (⌐■-■)
Moderator
Legend
Supporter
Yeah, I just can’t tell on “likely”. Remember that in general to get to a consent decree level, the FTC is going to prepare a complaint or suit as part of that process.

I *do* think there is a virtual guaranty that the FTC is going to seek concessions. But I’ve thought that for some time. No need to go to either administrative or federal court if they can get what they want by other means (consent).

 

dobwal

Legend
They basically have to start to prepare to litigate early as once MS formally files for the proposal the FTC only gets 30 days to review and can extend an additional 30 days with a second request. Any extension after that requires MS consent. So they have to be ready to litigate to stop because once that max 60 days are up, MS will be free to complete the merger.

The FTC under Biden is super aggressive but they have been losing more than usual because of that rush to litigate.
 
The FTC under Biden is super aggressive but they have been losing more than usual because of that rush to litigate.

It also doesn't help that they've been trying to broaden the scope of what they litigate outside of the relatively narrow scope that the law allows in various cases.

Thus, they need to come up with a compelling case that the Activision-Blizzard acquisition would do serious hard to consumers. They haven't done much WRT that, however, they done some public saber rattling WRT the effect on labor unions, workers rights and Microsoft's competitors ... which are all immaterial if they decide they are going to litigate. Thus they are attempting to find anything they can use to prevent tis merger as the Biden appointed head of the FTC is pretty public about being against larger corporate mergers and acquisitions.

And since she prefers litigation to consent decrees that means she needs to find some way to spin this as being anti-consumer. Basically she wants to ensure that these things don't happen (litigation) rather than them being modified (if needed) to be non-harmful to consumers (negotiated consent decrees).


Her focus is on anti-competitive behavior and not on whether the behavior results in a better consumer experience or not. Meanwhile the law only addresses mergers and acquisitions in terms of whether it is harmful to the consumer, NOT whether it is harmful to competition. Of course, anti-competitive behavior can result in harm to the consumer but it doesn't necessarily lead to harm to the consumer, thus courts can still rule in favor of an acquisition that is harmful to a competitor as long as it is not deemed harmful to the consumer.

Regards,
SB
 
I can see Sony getting a less-than-desirable outcome on Call of Duty (and other games) but it's not just about Sony and call of Duty is it. I'll keep posting this for the people in denial..

The UK CMA sought evidence from Microsoft's direct competitors, with the key named ones being Amazon, Apple, EA, Epic, Facebook, Google Netflix, Nintendo, Nvidia, Sony, Twitch, Ubisoft, Utomik and Valve and (quoting CMA's report) "Most competitors raised concerns regarding (i) Microsoft making ABK games exclusive to its own platform; and/or (ii) degrading the quality of ABK games on other platforms; and/or potential self-preferencing behaviour by Microsoft.".

The biggest non-Microsoft gaming stores/platforms are operated by Apple, Epic, Nintendo, Sony and Valve. Most of these raised concerns. Call of Duty isn't on most of these stores which tells you it's not just about Call of Duty.

Hmmm, Call of Duty is on the Apple, Sony and Valve storefronts. Although COD didn't appear on the Valve storefront until MS offered to buy Activision-Blizzard. What a coincidence almost as if they knew that MS would be putting COD on Steam as soon as the acquisition went through. :p

Throw in the Google storefront and that's 4 out of 6 storefronts with only Epic and Nintendo left out. Although, COD is rumored to be coming to the NSW, so that'll only leave Epic out.

If the acquisition goes through. COD will still be on the Apple, Google, Sony and Valve storefronts and likely Nintendo in the near future (MS stated back in Feb. 2022 thatthey would like to get COD on NSW if they were to acquire Activision-Blizzard).

So, basically after the acquisition COD will be on more platforms than before the acquisition ... assuming, of course, that MS hasn't been lying about their intentions WRT the franchise. I suppose that would be why Nintendo isn't against it or has any concerns.

I know that the CMA has made some comments about their concern that the acquisition may harm some of those companies, but I don't recall seeing anywhere that most of those companies actually raised any concerns. Granted, I didn't read the full CMA document, so perhaps that has documentation in it specifying exactly which companies have lodged formal complaints?

Regards,
SB
 
Top