The Microsoft Activision acquisition saga is sorta kinda maybe almost over

Kip Kniskern

Microsoft made an almost $69 billion bid to acquire Activision Blizzard King, the home to many of gaming’s biggest titles, including Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush, back in January 2022. Microsoft first announced that the deal was expected to close by the end of the fiscal 2022 year (which ended June 30, 2023) but later amended that to July 18, 2023, with a $3 billion termination fee to be paid to Activision if the deal didn’t close.

So it’s been a bit dicey these past few weeks. First, the UK’s CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) blocked the deal, and then in the US the Federal Trade Commission filed to stop the deal too. In a pair of decisions in the past two weeks, the FTC was first denied a Preliminary Injunction to stop the deal, then appealed, but that appeal was just denied by the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Here’s what they said:

“The motion for injunctive relief (Docket Entry No, 21) is denied. See Fed. Trade Comm’n v. Warner Commc’ns Inc., 742 F.2d 1156, 1159-60 (9th Cir. 1984) (defining standard by which the Federal Trade Commission may obtain a preliminary injunction); see also Feldman v. Ariz. Sec’y of State, 843 F.3d 366, 367 (9th Cir. 2016) (discussing standard for an injunction pending appeal).

The existing briefing schedule remains in effect.”

In layman’s terms, this means that Microsoft is free to close the deal before the Tuesday deadline, and is expected to do so either this weekend or possibly Monday.

However, there’s still the problem of the CMA. Although Microsoft and the CMA agreed to pause litigation in order to try and work something out, the deal is still officially blocked in the UK. Both sides seem to be willing to make concessions though, and it appears that the deal may well close anyway, leaving the CMA and Microsoft to work out the details. There’s a first thing Monday morning CAT (the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal) conference, so we may know more very soon.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on the action over the weekend, but this long saga may finally be reaching a conclusion, and then we’ll be able to look ahead at’s what’s next. Stay tuned to for all the latest!