Microsoft is reportedly planning to finalise its $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard on October 13, sources familiar to the matter told The Verge. This would see a saga that has lasted 20 months finally come to a close.
Microsoft first announced its acquisition of Activision Blizzard in January 2022, however the company has faced a number of challenges, both from competitors and regulators. One by one Microsoft had addressed these concerns, with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) standing as one of the final - and highest - hurdles.
The CMA blocked the deal in April, due to its concerns regarding how the acquisition could affect competitors in the cloud gaming space, leading Microsoft to take the drastic step of selling the cloud gaming rights for Activision Blizzard’s games to Ubisoft in order to finalise the deal. This satisfied the group, leading to them offering their preliminary approval of the deal.
The CMA’s deadline for the submission of opinions regarding the deal expires today, with the final decision expected next week, barring any last minute changes.
Unlucky for some
While the CMA remains the most significant hurdle to the deal, it’s worth noting that the USA’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) isn’t quite convinced that the deal is good for competition or for consumers. The group sued to block the acquisition last year, and failed to secure a preliminary injunction that would prevent the companies from finalising the deal.
The FTC is in the process of appealing this decision with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and is planning on resuming its case 21 days after the court makes its decision. As such, even if the deal is closed next week, the FTC could potentially attempt to undo it. As such, it looks like the story isn’t over quite yet - however, it’s significantly harder to undo a deal than it is to cancel it prior to its closure, and as such the prospects of the FTC succeeding appear slim.
We listed Activision Blizzard as one of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2023.