The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) of the United Kingdom has given the green light to Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, albeit with certain conditions. The approval comes after a new deal was structured that will see Ubisoft acquire Activision’s cloud gaming rights instead of Microsoft.
Microsoft’s attempt to acquire Activision Blizzard has been a long journey, often looking like it wouldn’t close. But today marks a significant turning point, as the last major regulatory hurdle for Microsoft has been cleared.
Microsoft had to make a concession to alleviate the CMAs concerns
In August, Microsoft made a significant concession by allowing Ubisoft to purchase Activision’s cloud gaming rights. This move was aimed at addressing the CMA’s concerns about competition in the cloud gaming market. The revised deal places the cloud streaming rights for all of Activision’s PC and console content produced over the next 15 years in the hands of Ubisoft, a strong and independent competitor.
The CMA launched a new investigation in August following Microsoft’s concession and has now cleared the transaction. The authority believes that the new deal will prevent Microsoft from monopolising the cloud gaming market, thereby preserving competitive prices and better services for UK cloud gaming customers.
Sarah Cardell, Chief Executive of the CMA, stated, “We are resolute in our determination to prevent mergers that harm competition and deliver bad outcomes for consumers and businesses. With the sale of Activision’s cloud streaming rights to Ubisoft, we’ve made sure Microsoft can’t have a stranglehold over this important and rapidly developing market.”
When is the deal expected to be closed?
With the final major regulatory hurdle now overcome, it’s time to wait for the deal to close. According to Florian Mueller, who has been a close observer of the deal, expects this to occur at around 6AM Pacific Time, prior to trading opening in New York.
Deal closing should happen now at 6 AM Pacific Time / 9 AM Eastern Time, i.e., before main trading hours begin in New York. That's in 6.5 hours from now. https://t.co/f7kcVets8Y
— Florian Mueller (@FOSSpatents) October 13, 2023
We’ll bring you more as soon as further information arrives and the deal closes.