Microsoft is currently in the process of acquiring Activision Blizzard for a whopping $68.7 billion. The deal is expected to be finalized next week, marking a significant development in the gaming industry. According to a reliable source familiar with Microsoft’s plans, the company is reportedly considering Friday, October 13th as the official closing date for announcing the completion of its 20-month acquisition process of Activision Blizzard, the renowned creator of Call of Duty video game series.
The finalization of the date will ultimately be determined by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, which had previously blocked Microsoft’s deal earlier this year.As of late, Microsoft made adjustments to an existing deal, which involves the transfer of cloud gaming rights for both new and existing Activision Blizzard games. These rights were then obtained by Ubisoft. Additionally, Microsoft received preliminary approval from the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) at the end of last month due to this change.
The CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) has a deadline that is ending today for collecting opinions on whether it should give consent to Microsoft for their proposed merger. A final decision from the CMA is anticipated next week, and unless any unexpected last-minute changes occur, it should result in Microsoft being able to finalize the deal.
Recently, Microsoft and Activision announced an extension of their deal deadline to October 18th. However, if Microsoft is successful in closing the deal next week, it will mark the end of a 20-month process involving regulatory approvals and battles across Europe and the US. This conclusion would occur earlier than anticipated.
In the UK, the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) recently prevented a deal from going through due to concerns about cloud services. This happened earlier this year. However, the European Union (EU) approved the same deal shortly after but only after Microsoft made important concessions regarding their cloud offerings. Following the initial lawsuit by the FTC to halt Activision Blizzard’s acquisition in the United States last year, regulatory battles in Europe began several months later. During the FTC v. Microsoft case, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was unable to obtain a preliminary injunction to prevent Microsoft from completing its acquisition of Activision Blizzard. This decision followed an intense period of five days in July, consisting of presenting evidence and testimony.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is currently in the process of appealing the outcome of a hearing with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. This legal battle has been ongoing, and a decision is expected to be made by early December. The FTC is seeking a resolution to this matter through the appeals process. In addition to other actions, the FTC is preparing to restart its own administrative case against Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The case will begin 21 days after the Ninth Circuit makes a ruling on the FTC’s appeal, and the hearing will be conducted virtually. If the Microsoft-Activision Blizzard deal goes through as planned, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) may face significant challenges in trying to reverse it. The task would be unprecedented and require substantial effort from the FTC.