Microsoft-Activision deal may now be closed thanks to CMA approval
The 20-month-long process of regulatory approvals is now over.
Microsoft has successfully cleared the final hurdle in its acquisition of Activision. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) was the last regulatory body to oppose the deal, but this obstacle has now been overcome, allowing Microsoft to proceed with the acquisition.
Under this new agreement, Microsoft has committed to preventing any anti-competitive behavior in the cloud gaming sector and ensuring competitive pricing for UK gamers using cloud services. Unlike other regulatory bodies worldwide, CMA was the sole entity determined to address Microsoft’s position in this regard, causing a significant delay in finalizing the deal. To resolve this, Microsoft had to restructure the deal, granting streaming rights to Ubisoft.
The sale of Activision’s cloud streaming rights to Ubisoft will prevent the distribution of important, popular content – including games such as Call of Duty, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft – from coming under the control of Microsoft in relation to cloud gaming. The restructured deal substantially addressed the concerns that the CMA had following its original investigation, which concluded earlier this year.
The CMA did identify limited residual concerns with the new deal, but Microsoft gave undertakings that will ensure that the terms of the sale of Activision’s rights to Ubisoft are enforceable by the UK’s CMA.
The CMA challenge was not the sole impediment to the acquisition. The US regulatory authority, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), posed its own set of issues for Microsoft. Notably, there was a significant data leak concerning future Xbox console designs, inadvertently included in the court files.
We’re grateful for the CMA’s thorough review and decision today. We have now crossed the final regulatory hurdle to close this acquisition, which we believe will benefit players and the gaming industry worldwide.
— Brad Smith (@BradSmi) October 13, 2023
This acquisition, which amounts to a staggering $68.7 billion, represents the largest deal in the tech industry. With all regulatory obstacles now cleared, Microsoft’s Vice Chairman and President, Brad Smith, along with Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, have expressed their satisfaction with this milestone.
Today the CMA, the regulatory authority in the UK, approved our transaction with Microsoft.
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.
Our board chair Brian Kelly and I are incredibly proud of all of you and your accomplishments over the last four decades. We’re excited for our next chapter together with Microsoft and the endless possibilities it creates for you and for our players.
Microsoft is expected to close the deal officially very soon.