The competition watchdog said the revised agreement proposed by Microsoft appeared to address competition concerns. A final decision is expected before October 18.
The UK Markets and Competition Authority (CMA) has given Microsoft preliminary approval to continue the $69 billion deal with Activision Blizzard. The CMA initially blocked the acquisition due to concerns about cloud gaming, but Microsoft recently restructured an agreement to transfer cloud gaming rights for current and new Activision Blizzard games to Ubisoft.
“The CMA believes that the restructured agreement introduces important changes that substantially address the problems it caused in connection with the original transaction earlier this year,” the CMA said in a press release, and “opens the door for approval of the agreement.”
This is only a preliminary decision, until final approval. The CMA says it has opened a request for feedback from third parties on solutions offered by Microsoft by October 6. A final decision is expected before the extended deadline of October 18 .
A final decision is expected before the extended deadline of October 18.
The consultation period is intended to address some of the remaining issues that the CMA has in connection with the agreement. “While the CMA has identified limited residual issues related to the new agreement, Microsoft has presented solutions that, according to the preliminary conclusion of the CMA, should solve these problems.”
Microsoft is understandably optimistic about this decision. “We have presented solutions that, in our opinion, completely solve the remaining CMA issues related to game streaming in the cloud, and we will continue to work on obtaining permission to close before the October 18 deadline,” Microsoft vice president and president Brad Smith said on X (formerly Twitter.)
Activision Blizzard is also satisfied with the CMA’s response. “This is an important milestone for the merger and a testament to our solution-oriented work with regulators,” Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said in a statement sent to employees. “I remain optimistic as we continue on the path to completion, and I am very grateful to each of you for your dedication and focus throughout this process.”