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Microsoft's purchase of Bethesda gets a deadline for approval in the EU

Skyrim
(Image credit: Bethesda)

The European Union is set to rule on Microsoft's planned purchase of Bethesda in March, potentially clearing the way for the industry-shaking acquisition to proceed as planned.

Microsoft announced its agreement to buy Bethesda's parent company ZeniMax Media back in September, however the process of the $7.5 billion purchase was far from instant. As Reuters reports, Microsoft filed a request for the European Commission to approve the purchase on January 29, and the provisional deadline for antitrust regulators to clear the deal is March 5.

According to Reuters, the regulators could pass the deal as-is, request concessions from its preliminary review, or elect to open up a more extensive investigation if they decide any parts of it are of particular concern. Whatever their ruling is, we'll find out by the deadline. While Microsoft and Bethesda are both headquartered in the US, both companies have extensive business operations and interests in the EU. Clearing the deal with its ruling body would be a big step toward making the purchase a reality.

We'll have to wait and see how the rest of the world reacts, but key figures in both Microsoft and Bethesda seem eager to start working together under the same metaphorical roof. Bethesda Studios boss Todd Howard has shared how the two companies' deep collaboration over the years included an Xbox game and achievement that were made just for him, and Dishonored director Harvey Smith says the two companies "fit perfectly." Meanwhile, Xbox boss Phil Spencer says his company will be an RPG powerhouse once Bethesda joins the ranks.

Check in on Bethesda's most-anticipated games with everything we know about Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6.

Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.