Microsoft/Activision Deal Looking All But Certain As UK Gives Preliminary Approval –

Microsoft/Activision Deal Looking All But Certain As UK Gives Preliminary Approval

After months of deliberation, the final hurdle in front of Xbox’s planned $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard is all but cleared. The last holdout, United Kingdom’s regulatory board, the Competition and Markets Authority (or CMA), has given preliminary approval for the deal to move forward.

The CMA announced its ruling today, where it stated the “sale of Activision’s cloud gaming rights to Ubisoft substantially addresses previous concerns and opens the door to the deal being cleared.” The board has opened discussions on Microsoft’s proposal until October 6, after which a final decision is expected by the October 18 deadline.

Xbox x Activision Blizzard.

Earlier this year, the CMA blocked the sale of Activision Blizzard to Microsoft, citing concerns over cloud gaming; specifically, there were fears that Microsoft would limit the streaming capabilities of Activision’s games–including Call Of Duty–to its own streaming service. Since then, Microsoft has agreed to sell streaming rights for the Activision portfolio to Ubisoft, which opened the door to today’s decision.

Activision Blizzard president Bobby Kotick sent a statement to all employees after the decision was announced, where he called the ruling “a significant milestone for the merger and a testament to our solutions-oriented work with regulators.” He added that “this transaction will help us accelerate our ambitions for the future of gaming and enable us to better serve our players.”

Brad Smith, vice-chairman and president of Microsoft, posted his reaction to the ruling on X, where he said the company was “encouraged by this positive development in the CMA’s review process. We presented solutions that we believe fully address the CMA’s remaining concerns related to cloud game streaming, and we will continue to work toward earning approval to close prior to the October 18 deadline.”

First announced in January 2022, the sale of Activision Blizzard to Microsoft will give the Xbox brand first-party access to multiple top-selling franchises, a list which includes the aforementioned Call Of Duty, Diablo, Crash Bandicoot, Overwatch, and more.

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