Finally, the Microsoft Activision Blizzard deal might come through.
The UK Competition and Markets Authority has approved Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The approval comes after a nearly two-year legal battle with concerns over a monopoly in the gaming industry. Microsoft’s pending takeover of Activision Blizzard would be the biggest such acquisition in the gaming industry.
Why did UK regulatory board approve Microsoft- Activision Blizzard deal?
After expressing initial concerns over Microsoft securing a complete dominance in the UK Cloud Gaming market, the UK Competition and Markets Authority has now approved the acquisition. This decision comes after Microsoft made some changes to its petition which include siphoning off the cloud gaming rights outside the UK to a competitor.
The new deal will stop Microsoft from locking up competition in cloud gaming as this market takes off, preserving competitive prices and services for UK cloud gaming customers.
Ubisoft can offer Microsoft’s content under any business plan as part of the new plan. The Assasin's Creed publisher will also be able to offer Microsoft games under multigame subscription models. This will allow it to bundle multiple games under one subscription.
This business model enables fair competition for Microsoft which will command a large catalog of games including some of their own such as Halo and Forza.
What’s next for Blizzard?
Today the CMA, the regulatory authority in the UK, approved our transaction with Microsoft.
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.
The deal should increase Microsoft's employee numbers by nearly 10,000. The console wars a few years ago, when PS5 and the next-gen XBOX launched saw both companies take a different approach. While Sony's PlayStation had a focus on exclusive releases, Microsoft pushed through with the Xbox Game Pass. The Xbox Game Pass is a subscription-based service for different platforms including PC and console. With the Activision Blizzard approach, there were concerns about a dominant market share for Microsoft. The company has alleviated the majority of these concerns with an alternative solution that involves Ubisoft.
Activision Blizzard is a publicly traded company with The Vanguard Group owning 7.26% while Blackrock Fund Advisors have a 4.90% stake. Meanwhile, Vanguard owns 8.38% of Microsoft with Blackrock owning just shy of five percent. The company has faced troubles in markets outside the US. In March 2022 last year, Yasser Elabd, former Senior Director at Microsoft accused the company of paying illegal bribes to close business deals in the Middle East and Africa.
For more information about the UK CMA's approval and the Microsoft-Activision case, readers can visit the CMA official website here.