UK Provisionally Approves Microsoft's Activision Blizzard Acquisition - NewsWilliam D'Angelo , posted on 03 October 2023 / 6,019 Views
The UK regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), has provisionally approved Microsoft's Activision Blizzard acquisition.
"The CMA considers that the restructured deal makes important changes that substantially address the concerns it set out in relation to the original transaction earlier this year," reds the press release from the CMA.
"In particular, the sale of Activision’s cloud streaming rights to Ubisoft will prevent this important content – including games such as Call of Duty, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft – from coming under the control of Microsoft in relation to cloud gaming. The CMA originally found that Microsoft already has a strong position in cloud gaming services and could have used its control over Activision content to stifle competition and reinforce this position. The new deal instead results in the cloud streaming rights for Activision’s games being transferred to an independent player, Ubisoft, maintaining open competition as the market for cloud gaming develops over the coming years.
"While the restructured deal is materially different to the previous transaction and substantially addresses most concerns, the CMA has limited residual concerns that certain provisions in the sale of Activision’s cloud streaming rights to Ubisoft could be circumvented, terminated, or not enforced.
"To address these concerns, Microsoft has offered remedies to ensure that the terms of the sale of Activision’s rights to Ubisoft are enforceable by the CMA. The CMA has provisionally concluded that this additional protection should resolve those residual concerns."
This is a preliminary decision by the CMA and they have now opened up feedback until October 6th. A final decision is expected before the final extended deadline of October 18.
"We are encouraged by this positive development in the CMA’s review process," said Microsoft vice chair and president Brad Smith. "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."
We are 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…— Brad Smith (@BradSmi) September 22, 2023
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick in a statement sent to employees stated, "Today the UK regulatory authority, the CMA, issued a preliminary approval of our merger with Microsoft based on the solutions Microsoft presented in connection with its new merger application. This approval is critical to completing our merger.
"The next step is for the CMA to gather third-party feedback, after which the CMA will reach a final decision.
"As I said when we announced the deal, this transaction will help us accelerate our ambitions for the future of gaming and enable us to better serve our players. Microsoft recognizes the commitment to excellence and creative independence that has served us well for the last 30 years. I am confident that their resources, technology, and tools will provide us even greater opportunities to create even better games.
"This is a significant milestone for the merger and a testament to our solutions-oriented work with regulators. I remain optimistic as we continue the journey toward completion and am very grateful to each of you for your dedication and focus throughout this process."
The acquisition has been approved in New Zealand, Turkey, South Africa, South Korea, China, the European Union, Ukraine, Japan, Chile, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Serbia. Microsoft also won its case against the FTC in the US, which was trying to block the deal.
A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012 and taking over the hardware estimates in 2017. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel. You can contact the author on Twitter @TrunksWD.