The UK regulatory authority, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), has granted Microsoft the approval to acquire Activision Blizzard. This decision comes after the CMA initially expressed concerns about Microsoft's dominance in the cloud gaming sector. To address these concerns, Microsoft restructured the deal, agreeing to sell off Activision Blizzard's cloud gaming rights to Ubisoft. This move was seen as a significant step in ensuring competition in the rapidly evolving cloud gaming market.
Details of the Restructured Deal
Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard, valued at nearly $69 billion, has been under scrutiny for almost two years. The restructured agreement entails that Ubisoft will hold the cloud streaming rights for all of Activision's PC and console content produced over the next 15 years. This arrangement ensures that a strong and independent competitor will have control over these rights, promoting more ways for gamers to access content. The CMA's decision to clear this revised transaction signifies its commitment to preserving competitive prices and superior services for UK cloud gaming customers.
Reactions and Statements
Activision shared its enthusiasm about the approval, stating, “The CMA's official approval is great news for our future with Microsoft, and we look forward to becoming part of the Xbox Team.” Microsoft's Brad Smith expressed gratitude for the CMA's comprehensive review, emphasizing that this was the last significant regulatory challenge before finalizing the acquisition. Sarah Cardell, Chief Executive of the CMA, highlighted the agency's dedication to preventing mergers that could harm competition. She remarked, “With the sale of Activision's cloud streaming rights to Ubisoft, we've made sure Microsoft can't have a stranglehold over this important and rapidly developing market.“
What Lies Ahead
With the CMA's approval, the path is now clear for Microsoft and Activision Blizzard to finalize their merger. The acquisition is expected to be completed soon, marking one of the most significant tech mergers in recent history. However, it's worth noting that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US is still challenging the deal. While this won't prevent the acquisition's closure, there remains a possibility that the FTC might push for further divestments from Microsoft in the future.