Update: Activision Blizzard has now responded to the Competition and Markets Authority's approval of Microsoft's proposed acquisition deal. In a statement, it said: “The CMA’s official approval is great news for our future with Microsoft, and we look forward to becoming part of the Xbox Team.”
In an email sent to Activision employees, CEO Bobby Kotick said: "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."
The UK’s competition regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority, has given its official approval of Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, more than five months after it initially blocked the deal.
In news published today (October 13), the CMA has confirmed that it is satisfied with the latest version of the deal, which will see Microsoft sell the cloud streaming rights for current and new Activision games (released over the next 15 years) to Ubisoft if the deal goes through. This updated proposal was put forward to directly address the regulator’s initial concerns that the merger could harm competition in cloud gaming in the UK, and last month, the CMA gave its preliminary approval.
Today, Martin Coleman, the chair of the independent panel who reviewed the original proposal, reiterated the importance of cloud gaming, and stated that the merger “could have seriously undermined its potential development”. However, the amended deal is “better for competition, better for consumers and better for economic growth”.
Sarah Cardell, the CMA’s chief executive, said in a statement: “With the sale of Activision’s cloud streaming rights to Ubisoft, we’ve made sure Microsoft can’t have a stranglehold over this important and rapidly developing market. As cloud gaming grows, this intervention will ensure people get more competitive prices, better services and more choice. We are the only competition agency globally to have delivered this outcome.”
However, Cardell also made it clear to any other businesses and advisors that “the tactics employed by Microsoft are no way to engage with the CMA”. She said: “Microsoft had the chance to restructure during our initial investigation but instead continued to insist on a package of measures that we told them simply wouldn’t work. Dragging out proceedings in this way only wastes time and money.”
It’s worth keeping in mind that even with this approval, Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision still isn’t closed, although that's expected to happen any time now. The deal’s deadline is October 18, so it’s very likely that we’ll hear more soon.
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Catherine is a News Writer for TechRadar Gaming. Armed with a journalism degree from The University of Sheffield, she was sucked into the games media industry after spending far too much time on her university newspaper writing about Pokémon and cool indie games, and realising that was a very cool job, actually. She previously spent 19 months working at GAMINGbible as a full-time journalist. She loves all things Nintendo, and will never stop talking about Xenoblade Chronicles.