Microsoft Activision Blizzard deal approved by UK regulator

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has given its approval for Microsoft’s revised agreement to acquire Activision Blizzard.

After over a year and a half since the initial announcement, Microsoft can now move forward with its proposed $68.7bn acquisition of the popular gaming companies Call of Duty and Overwatch.

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The CMA stated on X (formerly Twitter): “We’ve approved the new agreement between Microsoft and Activision, excluding cloud gaming rights. Microsoft made a concession in August allowing Ubisoft, instead of itself, to acquire Activision’s cloud gaming rights.

“This new deal prevents Microsoft from monopolizing the cloud gaming market, ensuring competitive prices and services for UK cloud gamers.”

In a statement directly shared with Eurogamer, Microsoft president Brad Smith expressed gratitude for the CMA’s review and decision to approve the acquisition.

“With the final regulatory requirement fulfilled, we can now proceed with this acquisition, which we believe will have a positive impact on players and the gaming industry globally,” Smith wrote.

To recap, the CMA initially blocked Microsoft’s bid to acquire Activision Blizzard due to concerns regarding the cloud gaming sector. However, Microsoft submitted a revised proposal in August, stating that it would sell the streaming rights for all Activision Blizzard games released within the next 15 years to Ubisoft if the new deal was accepted.

In September, the CMA indicated that this revised agreement would be sufficient for provisional approval, and now it has become official.

Sarah Cardell, Chief Executive of the CMA, said today: “We clearly communicated to Microsoft that the deal would be blocked unless they effectively addressed our concerns, and we stood firm on that position.

“With the sale of Activision’s cloud streaming rights to Ubisoft, we have ensured that Microsoft cannot exert total control over this crucial and fast-growing market. As cloud gaming continues to expand, this intervention will promote competitive prices, better services, and more options for consumers. Our achievement sets us apart as the only competition authority worldwide to deliver this outcome.”

All attention now turns to Microsoft as it is set to finalize its acquisition of Activision Blizzard very soon. Keep an eye on Eurogamer for further updates.