Microsoft Given the Go Ahead for Activision Blizzard Acquisition

Renewed bid ‘addresses concerns’ of Competition Markets Authority.

Ian Hart, Senior Digital Editor U.K. & EMEA

October 13, 2023

2 Min Read
Activision Blizzard logo
Activision Blizzard logoActivision Blizzard

U.K. regulators have approved Microsoft's revised offer to buy Activision Blizzard, owners of  “Call of Duty,” “Candy Crush,” “World of Warcraft” and “Overwatch.” 

License Global has previously reported on why the moved had been blocked. In May, the European Union approved the move and this latest announcement by U.K. regulators moves the acquisition a step closer. 

The deal is expected to mark a seismic shift in the market, further cementing Microsoft’s stature in the gaming sector. 

The Competition Markets Authority (CMA) initially blocked the original $69 billion (£59 billion) deal in April, but says that its concerns had been addressed in the updated bid. 

As part of the acquisition, Microsoft will hand the rights to distribute Activision's games on consoles and PCs over the cloud to France's Ubisoft

The CMA said this would preserve competitive prices but criticized Microsoft’s handling of the situation.  

"Businesses and their advisors should be in no doubt that the tactics employed by Microsoft are no way to engage with the CMA,” says Sarah Cardell, chief executive, CMA. "Microsoft had the chance to restructure during our initial investigation but instead continued to insist on a package of measures that we told them simply wouldn't work. Dragging out proceedings in this way only wastes time and money. 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.” 

Related:Why the U.K. Government is Blocking Microsoft’s Acquisition of Activision Blizzard

Brad Smith, vice chair and president, Microsoft, who had earlier described the CMA’s decision to block the move as “bad for Britain,” announced his gratitude at the news on social media.  

“We’re grateful for the CMA’s thorough review and decision today,” says Smith. “We have now crossed the final regulatory hurdle to close this acquisition, which we believe will benefit players and the gaming industry worldwide.” 

License Global will continue to monitor and report on this developing news story. 

About the Author(s)

Ian Hart

Senior Digital Editor U.K. & EMEA, License Global

Ian joined the License Global editorial team in May 2022 as digital editor for the U.K. and EMEA, becoming Senior Digital Editor in April 2023.

Ian is a huge fan of sports and entertainment brands and, as a father, toys and kids' brands are a large part of his life!

He has been at Informa (formerly UBM) since 2018, where he was previously the editor of SHP, a B2B digital publication aimed at health & safety professionals.

Ian studied journalism at university before spending seven years in online fantasy gaming. Prior to moving to Informa, Ian worked in B2B trade print media, in the automotive sector, working on various publications aimed at independent automotive technicians and parts distributors.

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