- Microsoft is close to finalizing its acquisition of Activision-Blizzard, which would be the biggest deal in the history of the video game industry.
- Regulatory authorities, including the EU and the CMA, have conducted investigations into the deal. The CMA has given preliminary approval, while the FTC has appealed the decision.
- Microsoft aims to complete the deal by October 13, 2023, but the final verdict from the CMA is still pending. If the deal falls through, Microsoft will have to pay a $4.5 billion breakup fee.
Reports suggest that Microsoft is looking to complete its $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision-Blizzard by October 13, 2023. Microsoft had originally revealed its plans to acquire Activision back in January 2022, and is now finally close to finalizing it after almost 20 months.
Microsoft acquiring Activision will be the biggest deal in the history of the video game industry. A deal of this magnitude looked concerning to regulatory authorities across the globe, which conducted individual investigations to scrutinize it thoroughly. The notable authorities here were the USA’s Federal Trade Commission, UK’s Competition Markets Authority, and the European Union. The EU greenlit the deal with some conditions; however, the CMA chose to block the deal, while the FTC also stayed its decision on the matter and handed a lawsuit to Microsoft, sparking a lengthy court battle. Despite the pushback, Microsoft won its legal battle against the FTC and was given the go ahead to complete the acquisition by a US court. Now, it looks like the deal is nearing its completion.
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As reported by The Verge, sources close to the publication revealed that Microsoft is looking to seal the deal by Friday, October 13, 2023. However, this date could change considering the CMA is yet to give its final verdict on the matter. In a bid to convince the CMA, Microsoft has agreed to sign over the cloud gaming rights of Activision’s current and future games to Ubisoft. The CMA was seemingly reassured and gave its preliminary approval to Microsoft last month, and will announce its final decision on the matter next week.
Microsoft will also look forward to closing the deal on October 13 itself, considering the extended deadline for the deal ends on October 18. However, if the deal falls through for any reason at this point, Microsoft will have to pay a hefty $4.5 billion breakup fee. This extension also amended some of the agreements between Activision and Microsoft, possibly regarding the future of Call of Duty on PlayStation, Nintendo, and other platforms.
At this point, several global regulatory authorities and multiple gaming industry veterans have given their nod of approval to the deal. However, the FTC still hasn’t given up on its plan to try and block the Microsoft-Activision deal, as it has already appealed the verdict on the Microsoft trial, and now plans to conduct and in-house hearing as it waits for the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to declare its decision regarding the appeal.
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Source: The Verge