A dramatic turn of events, after the defeat of the FTC against Microsoft in the United States, it was the competition authority in the United Kingdom which began to back down. The end of the tunnel seems in sight for the takeover of Activision Blizzard and Call of Duty by Microsoft.
Microsoft is now free to absorb Activision Blizzard anywhere in the world except the UK. The FTC lost its case in the United States in federal court. Aware that it was now alone against the multinational, the British competition authority decided to backtrack to reopen negotiations.
Where is the procedure in the UK?
Since the announcement of the blocking of the takeover by the CMA in the United Kingdom, it was necessary for Microsoft and Activision Blizzard to appeal the decision before the CAT, the competent court in the matter. This is what Microsoft did in May and the trial between the CMA and the firm was scheduled for the week of July 24, 2023.
“Was planned” since the CMA, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard agreed to postpone this legal procedure in order to return to the negotiating table. Microsoft now intends to modify its takeover plan to satisfy the CMA and finally be able to absorb the number 1 publisher of video games, Activision Blizzard, for 68.7 billion dollars.
In May 2023, Microsoft boss Satya Nadella refused to rule out the possibility of the giant leaving the UK. A strong threat which may have contributed to the change of position of the CMA.
A race against the clock
Because Microsoft is in a hurry. The repurchase agreement between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard expires on July 18, 2023, or in 7 days at the time of writing this article. From this date, the two companies must renegotiate to extend the contract. Since signing the latter in January 2022, Activision Blizzard has released Overwatch 2 And Diablo 4 and taken from the hair of the beast whether in public opinion or financially. With a renegotiation, the firm could seek to increase its selling price.
Microsoft therefore has every interest in finding common ground with the UK CMA before July 18, 2023. If successful, Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, candy Crush or Diablo could become Xbox-branded properties as early as next week. Part of the publisher’s catalog should undoubtedly land in the Xbox Game Pass in stride. That’s good, its price has just increased.