Microsoft looks set to complete its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard after the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) gave preliminary approval for the deal to go ahead. The CMA had initially blocked the deal over cloud gaming concerns in the UK, but Microsoft’s restructured deal, submitted in August, looks to have addressed the problem.
“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,” the CMA announced in a press release. Following the “remedies” provided by Microsoft, the CMA has now “opened a consultation” with third-party until October 6th, ahead of a final decision. In July, both Microsoft and Activision agreed to an extension until the 18th of October to close the deal. A final decision by the CMA is expected to be announced before then.
Under the terms of the restructured deal submitted to the CMA, “Microsoft will not purchase the cloud gaming rights held by Activision, which will instead be sold to an independent third party, Ubisoft Entertainment SA (Ubisoft), before the deal is completed.” The CMA addressed that it has “limited residual concerns that certain provisions in the sale of Activision’s cloud streaming rights to Ubisoft could be circumvented, terminated, or not enforced.”
In response to the CMA’s announcement, Microsoft’s Vice Chair and President, Brad Smith released a statement on X: “We are encouraged by this positive development in the CMA’s review process. We presented solutions that we believe fully address the CMA’s remaining concerns related to cloud game streaming, and we will continue to work toward earning approval to close prior to the October 18 deadline.”
Microsoft looks set to complete the Activision merger, in what will be one of the biggest acquisitions in gaming history. In July, a US court denied the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) last-minute attempt to stop the deal.