Microsoft-OpenAI Deal Set To Dodge Formal EU Merger Probe

According to sources familiar with the matter, European Union antitrust regulators have determined that Microsoft‘s $13 billion investment in OpenAI does not constitute an acquisition. This decision suggests that the deal will sidestep a formal European investigation, sparing the U.S. tech giant from potentially burdensome remedies.


As of Wednesday, Microsoft, OpenAI, and a spokesperson for the European Commission had not responded to requests for comment from Thegistarena.

In January, EU regulators had indicated that the deal might fall under merger rules within the region. Microsoft, which holds a non-voting position on OpenAI’s board, clarified last year that it does not possess any ownership stake in the maker of ChatGPT.

However, Microsoft isn’t entirely in the clear yet. The EU competition watchdog continues to scrutinize partnerships between major players in the digital market and developers and providers of generative AI, which could result in thorough and lengthy investigations into their market dominance.

Furthermore, the Microsoft-OpenAI collaboration is informally under examination in other jurisdictions. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority is assessing whether to launch an investigation to evaluate its impact on competition among British firms. Meanwhile, reports suggest that the U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission are deliberating on whether to initiate their own inquiries.

To preempt such investigations, Microsoft is actively seeking partnerships with other AI firms. Earlier this year, it announced a collaboration with the French startup Mistral AI.

Bloomberg News initially reported on these developments on Wednesday.