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Microsoft’s Activision Acquisition One Step Closer as it Avoids Another EU Probe

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Microsoft‘s nearly two-year journey to finalize its Activision Blizzard acquisition is one step closer to completion.

Per Bloomberg, Microsoft Corp. changed aspects of the $69 billion deal to appeal to the UK Competition and Markets Authority. Anonymous sources close to the situation assert that the European Commission concluded a second probe by the European Union in Brussels won’t be required following the changes. As a result, the deal might conclude soon, pending approval from Britain’s antitrust regulator.

Microsoft first announced its purchase of Activision Blizzard in January 2022. The news came amidst recent accusations of harassment and toxicity at Activision Blizzard. While lawsuits on the accusations continue, Microsoft has spent the months since attempting to finalize its acquisition. The deal, should it pass, would be the biggest gaming industry purchase of its kind.

Even after passing the deal in Europe, Microsoft still needs to contend with opposition in the United States. After a pause in September, the Federal Trade Commission will continue its trial opposing the Activision deal.

Why Microsoft’s Activision Deal Matters

Microsoft has faced opposition to buying Activision in Europe and the United States. Government agencies and others in the gaming industry expressed concerns over fair competition. Activision owns the rights to some of the most popular and profitable games today, including Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. Competitors like Sony argued that the company could make such games platform exclusives, turning the console wars into an unfair fight.

In April, the CMA blocked the deal, citing concerns about cloud gaming competition and the potential for negatively impacting the UK market with higher prices. However, it allowed Microsoft to make alterations, something previously unheard of.

As part of the revised proposal, Microsoft would allow Ubisoft Entertainment SA to release Activision games on the cloud. The new reports indicate the CMA could approve the deal as soon as next week, following approval from the industry.

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