Microsoft’s $69-Billion Activision Blizzard Deal Clears Major UK Hurdle

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The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has granted initial approval for Microsoft’s $69 billion deal with Activision Blizzard. Initially blocked due to concerns about cloud gaming, the CMA approved the deal after Microsoft restructured it, transferring cloud gaming rights for both existing and upcoming Activision Blizzard games to Ubisoft. In a press release, the CMA stated, “The CMA considers that the restructured deal makes important changes that substantially address the concerns it set out in relation to the original transaction earlier this year,” paving the way for potential clearance of the deal.

However, this approval is preliminary, preceding the final decision. The CMA has initiated a consultation period to gather third-party input on Microsoft’s proposed remedies, open until October 6. The final decision is anticipated before the extended deadline of October 18.

This consultation aims to address lingering concerns that the CMA has regarding the deal. “While the CMA has identified limited residual concerns with the new deal, Microsoft has put forward remedies which the CMA has provisionally concluded should address these issues.”

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Microsoft is optimistic about the decision and has presented solutions to address the CMA’s remaining concerns. Brad Smith, Microsoft’s vice chair and president, expressed this optimism and reiterated their commitment to working towards gaining approval before the October 18 deadline.

Activision Blizzard has also expressed satisfaction with the CMA’s response, seeing it as a significant milestone for the merger. Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, emphasised their dedication to solutions-based collaboration with regulators and expressed gratitude to everyone involved in the process.

The UK regulatory approval represents the final hurdle for Microsoft’s substantial deal.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has inadvertently exposed a wealth of information concerning upcoming Xbox updates, next-generation systems, and more. This revelation — touted as the biggest leak in the company’s history — transpired as unredacted documents were uploaded to a court website as part of the ongoing Federal Trade Commission v. Microsoft case. The leak, reverberating across the online sphere on Tuesday, not only provides a glimpse into the gaming giant’s future plans but also offers unprecedented insight into Microsoft’s internal operations.

The files were initially uncovered by users on the gaming forum ResetEra early on Tuesday. According to FTC spokesperson Douglass Farrar, the organisation disclaimed responsibility for the leaked plans, a confirmation later corroborated by the court. While leaks are not uncommon in the gaming industry, this particular incident stands out due to the sheer scale and breadth of information leaked, sparking extensive speculation regarding Microsoft’s forthcoming endeavours.

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