Done deal: Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal approved by UK regulators

Video game's biggest deal ever just got approved with Activision Blizzard becoming part of Microsoft for $68.7 billion

Done deal: Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal approved by UK regulators

It's almost over. Microsoft’s almighty $68.7 billion deal to acquire Activision Blizzard has been approved by the UK's Competition and Markets Authority after a battle that's seen the computing giant twist and turn, chop and change the deal in order to get the job done ever since its announcement in 2022.

Now Microsoft's dream of owning a bigger and more relevant slice of mobile has come true (along with all kinds of extra perks of course) and the official closing and completing of the deal now looks like a formality

The CMA has decided that the deal can continue following Microsoft's recent restructure of the deal, cutting away cloud gaming rights for Activision Blizzard games and effectively gifting them (for a fee) to rival Ubisoft. Ubisoft acquired these rights for a period of 15 years and will license titles back to Microsoft to be included in Xbox Cloud Gaming. As to what time frame and which games will be included and when, that's all up in the cloud right now.

The official CMA statement is as follows: 

“The CMA has decided to give Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft) consent to acquire Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Activision) (the Parties) excluding Activision’s cloud streaming rights outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) (the Merger) subject to the condition that the sale of Activision’s cloud streaming rights completes prior to completion of the Merger."

And the official post on X (formerly Twitter) looks like this:

"We delivered a clear message to Microsoft that the deal would be blocked unless they comprehensively addressed our concerns and stuck to our guns on that," said Sarah Cardell, the CMA's CEO referring to the cloud gaming issues that the regulatory body took exeption to. “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. As cloud gaming grows, this intervention will ensure people get more competitive prices, better services and more choice. We are the only competition agency globally to have delivered this outcome.” 

Needless to say, Microsoft vice chair and president Brad Smith is also happy. “We have now crossed the final regulatory hurdle to close this acquisition, which we believe will benefit players and the gaming industry worldwide,” he said in an X post.

Meanwhile Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has emailed all employees today to give them the good news. “We now have all regulatory approvals necessary to close and we look forward to bringing joy and connection to even more players around the world,” said Kotick. “We’re excited for our next chapter together with Microsoft and the endless possibilities it creates for you and for our players.”

It's worth noting that the US Federal Trade Commission is still appealing its failure to secure an injunction to block the deal, with a decision from the appeals court not due until December. As the FTC doesn’t have a preliminary injunction in place, Microsoft is now clear to close its proposed Activision Blizzard acquisition ahead of that deadline. So while the deal doesn't have its fans in the States either... It appears to be unblockable at this stage.

While Microsoft has given away their cloud gaming rights, the real prize - which they insisted all along - of King's mobile empire, is in place. After fumbling the ball, it looks like Microsoft's mobile plans can now finally take flight.


Editor -

Daniel Griffiths is a veteran journalist who has worked on some of the biggest entertainment media brands in the world. He's interviewed countless big names, and covered countless new releases in the fields of videogames, music, movies, tech, gadgets, home improvement, self build, interiors and garden design. Yup, he said garden design… He’s the ex-Editor of PSM2, PSM3, GamesMaster and Future Music, ex-Deputy Editor of The Official PlayStation Magazine and ex-Group Editor-in-Chief of Electronic Musician, Guitarist, Guitar World, Rhythm, Computer Music and more. He hates talking about himself.