Microsoft can breathe easy: the firm has managed to convince the United Kingdom to validate its plan to buy Activision Blizzard.
That’s it, after more than a year and a half of struggle before administrations around the world and sometimes in the courts, Microsoft seems on the verge of obtaining the green light to absorb Activision Blizzard, one of the largest publishers of video games. As a reminder, Microsoft announced the acquisition of Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion in January 2022.
The United Kingdom validates the Ubisoft solution
Today, Friday September 22, the British competition authority opens the door to validation of the takeover project. This is the latest obstacle for Microsoft since the blockage initially by the United Kingdom in April 2023. The firm has, in fact, obtained validation of its project in the European Union, in China and has overcome the FTC in the United States in court.
The United Kingdom had raised concerns about the future of the cloud gaming market where Microsoft could become too powerful by taking control of franchises like Call of Duty. In August 2023, Microsoft announced a new takeover project for Activision Blizzard where the rights to cloud gaming games would be resold to Ubisoft.
The British competition authority considers that this new takeover project “ makes significant changes that largely address concerns it expressed about the initial operation earlier this year “.
The only downside: the quality of the contract with Ubisoft and Microsoft’s ability to circumvent this contract for the sale of cloud gaming game rights. To remedy this, Microsoft agreed that the CMA, the British competition authority, would have the right to monitor and act on the contract.
Unsurprisingly, those responsible for Activision and Microsoft are delighted with the news: “ This is an important step for the merger » said Bobby Kotick in a letter to Activision Blizzard Group employees. For his part, Brad Smith of Microsoft believes that “ we are encouraged by this positive development in the CMA review process “.
Is this validated?
At this stage, the takeover project has not yet really been validated by the United Kingdom. The authority is now letting Microsoft’s competitors react to this news by opening a consultation until October 6. Barring any incredible surprises, Microsoft should then obtain its final green light and announce the definitive merger with Activision Blizzard.