Microsoft Cleared to Acquire Activision Blizzard After Approval from UK’s Competition and Markets Authority
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK has officially given the green light for Microsoft to acquire Activision Blizzard. Initially, the CMA had concerns about cloud gaming, resulting in the deal being blocked in April. Microsoft decided to address these concerns by selling the cloud gaming rights for the next 15 years of Activision Blizzard games outside of the European Economic Area to Ubisoft.
The CMA stated, “In August this year Microsoft made a concession that would see Ubisoft, instead of Microsoft, buy Activision’s cloud gaming rights. This new deal will put the cloud streaming rights–outside the EEA–for all of Activision’s PC and console content produced over the next 15 years in the hands of a strong and independent competitor with ambitious plans to offer new ways of accessing that content.”
The CMA believes that this move will prevent Microsoft from monopolizing the competition in cloud gaming, allowing for a more competitive market environment as the industry continues to grow. Microsoft President Brad Smith expressed gratitude for the CMA’s thorough review and decision, while Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick congratulated the staff on the company’s “next chapter” under Microsoft’s ownership. It is expected that Kotick will leave the company following the closing of the deal.
Trading in Activision Blizzard shares has been temporarily halted on Nasdaq exchanges, indicating that Microsoft is preparing to finalize the acquisition. Although there is a pending case from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) seeking to stop the deal with an in-house trial, it is unlikely that the FTC will block the acquisition following a significant legal defeat in July.
Upon completion of the acquisition, Microsoft will gain ownership of various intellectual properties, including popular franchises like Call of Duty, Diablo, Overwatch, and Candy Crush. Activision President Rob Kostich believes that the Call of Duty series will greatly benefit from this new era, leveraging Microsoft’s extensive resources to provide more immersive experiences. While the Call of Duty games will continue to release on PlayStation consoles for at least another decade, Game Pass subscribers should not expect immediate access to the franchise on the subscription service, possibly not until 2025.
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