In the ever-evolving landscape of gaming, an enormous development has recently come to light. The UK regulatory authority, known as the CMA, has granted its approval for the monumental acquisition of Activision Blizzard by tech giant Microsoft. This transformative deal, valued at almost $69 billion, has been in the works for nearly two years, with the initial announcement back in January 2022.
A Restructured Deal: Navigating Regulatory Waters
This approval follows months of scrutiny, during which the CMA initially blocked Microsoft’s ambitious endeavour to acquire the renowned publisher of gaming blockbusters such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. However, in an impressive display of adaptability, Microsoft decided to restructure the deal. They made the strategic move to sell off the cloud gaming rights of Activision Blizzard to Ubisoft. This revision addressed the CMA’s concerns regarding the potential dominance of the combined company in the cloud gaming sector.
In a parallel move across the Atlantic, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) denied a preliminary injunction that sought to halt the deal. With the green light from the CMA, Microsoft is now unshackled to proceed with its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, a monumental transaction valued at $68.7 billion.
Historic Merger and Its Significance
This acquisition stands as the most significant in the history of the gaming industry. Microsoft’s bid to bring Activision Blizzard into its fold represents a seismic shift, underlining the tech giant’s dedication to the gaming market and its vision for the future.
The CMA formally announced its approval of Microsoft’s restructured acquisition of Activision Blizzard, marking a crucial milestone in this journey. The CMA’s official statement, dated October 13, 2023, conveyed the approval with the following language: “Microsoft Corporation’s request for consent to close under Microsoft and Activision Merger Inquiry Order 2023 granted.”
We’ve cleared the new deal for Microsoft to buy Activision without cloud gaming rights.
In August, Microsoft made a concession that would see Ubisoft, instead of Microsoft, buy Activision’s cloud gaming rights.
Read more: https://t.co/Z4scLEJFy0
— Competition & Markets Authority (@CMAgovUK) October 13, 2023
Furthermore, the statement provided a deeper insight into the decision: “The CMA has decided to give Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft) consent to acquire Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Activision) (the Parties) excluding Activision’s cloud streaming rights outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) (the Merger) subject to the condition that the sale of Activision’s cloud streaming rights completes prior to completion of the Merger. As set out below, this consent is required as a result of the CMA’s Final Order prohibiting Microsoft’s acquisition of the whole of Activision (the First Proposed Merger).”
Optimism and Excitement from Key Players
Unsurprisingly, this development has been met with enthusiasm from the companies involved. Activision Blizzard, in an official statement, expressed its elation: “The CMA’s official approval is great news for our future with Microsoft, and we look forward to becoming part of the Xbox Team.”
A note addressed to employees at Activision Blizzard emphasized their “excitement” about the approval and hinted at a promising future: “Today the CMA, the regulatory authority in the UK, approved our transaction with Microsoft. We now have all regulatory approvals necessary to close and look forward to bringing joy and connection to even more players around the world.”
Microsoft’s President, Brad Smith, also underscored the significance of this regulatory approval, emphasizing that this was the final major hurdle before the deal’s closure.
We’re grateful for the CMA’s thorough review and decision today. We have now crossed the final regulatory hurdle to close this acquisition, which we believe will benefit players and the gaming industry worldwide.
— Brad Smith (@BradSmi) October 13, 2023
The Road Ahead: Closing the Deal
With the final approval now in place, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard are actively in the process of signing the required paperwork to complete the deal. As this article is being read, the finishing touches are being put on a transaction that will reshape the gaming industry. While the journey has been long and marked by various challenges, the consensus is one of contentment that this transformative ride is finally coming to a close.
As per the current timeline, the deal has a deadline of October 18, 2023. With this last regulatory approval solidly in place, the gaming community can eagerly anticipate the official news of the deal’s closure, ushering in an exciting new era in the gaming world.