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Is the CMA Set to Approve Microsoft’s Acquisition of Activision Blizzard?

The U.K. authority acknowledged that the restructured deal ‘makes important changes that substantially address concerns,’ in a statement last Friday, and will announce a final decision by October 6.

Another win for Microsoft? The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) may soon reverse course on its block of the media giant’s nearly $70 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, admitting their antitrust concerns had been “substantially addresse[d].” While a final approval is still forthcoming, it seems Microsoft may finally be in the clear.

“The C.M.A. considers that the restructured deal makes important changes that substantially address the concerns it set out in relation to the original transaction earlier this year,” the agency said in a statement on Friday.

In a previous effort to appease the CMA, Microsoft and Activision amended the deal, agreeing that “Microsoft will not acquire cloud rights for existing Activision PC and console games, or for new games released by Activision during the next 15 years (excluding the European Economic Area).” The rights will instead be divested to Ubisoft Entertainment SA.

The CMA was reportedly under immense pressure to approve the groundbreaking deal. “When you are the last man standing, you cannot realistically block a deal when the U.K. represents less that 5 percent of the global revenues,” said Tommaso Valletti, a professor of economics at Imperial College Business School to The New York Times.

The CMA will hold a “consultation” through October 6 before making a final decision to approve.  The statutory deadline for a decision has previously been announced as October 18, the day the Microsoft / Activision deal is set to close.

Laurén Alexa's picture

Cybersecurity specialist by day, investigative journalist by night.