October 13, 2023
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.”
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.
Read more about:Activision BlizzardActivisionmicrosoftCall of DutyOverwatchCandy CrushUbisoftU.K.Global
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