Call of Duty

Microsoft’s new $69 billion Activision-Bizzard deal passes UK approval

Gaming industry’s biggest ever takeover deal

Microsoft’s $69 billion revised offer to buy Call of Duty-maker Activision Blizzard has been approved by UK regulators.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said the deal addressed its concerns, after the watchdog blocked the original $69bn (£59bn) bid in April 2023. The green light marks the culmination of a near two-year fight to secure the gaming industry’s biggest-ever takeover.

CMA criticised Microsoft’s conduct.

After the competition watchdog blocked the takeover earlier this year, Microsoft’s president hit out at the CMA’s decision which it said was ‘bad for Britain’.

The CMA chief executive reportedly said: ‘Businesses and their advisors should be in no doubt that the tactics employed by Microsoft are no way to engage with the CMA. 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’.

The CMA also said the revised deal would ‘preserve competitive prices’ in the gaming industry and provide more choice and better services.

Prior to the approval, the deal, which makes Microsoft the owner of Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Overwatch and Candy Crush, could not be finalised globally.

Under the restructured transaction, Microsoft will not acquire cloud rights for existing Activision PC and console games, or for new games released by Activision during the next 15 years. Instead, these rights will be divested to Ubisoft Entertainment before Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision, according to the CMA.

Vice Chair and President, Brad Smith seem happy after saying it would be ‘bad for Britain.

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’.

Go count the money!

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