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Microsoft completes acquisition of Activision Blizzard

UK regulator drops its case after concessions made on cloud gaming, FTC still challenging

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Microsoft has announced that the acquisition of Activision Blizzard is now completed.

The deal, reportedly an all-cash transaction valued at $68.7 billion, makes Microsoft the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony. The deal was first announced in January 2022, and has faced legal challenges in the UK by CMA and the US by FTC. The governing bodies had concerns about how much market dominance such a deal would create.

In August this year, Microsoft made a concession that would see Ubisoft, instead of Microsoft, buy Activision’s cloud gaming rights. This new deal will put the cloud streaming rights (outside the EEA) for all of Activision’s PC and console content produced over the next 15 years in the hands of an independent competitor. As a result of this concession, UK's CMA agreed to look afresh at the deal and this morning approved the transaction.

In the US, the FTC is still challenging the merger. In July, the FTC dispute that the deal would harm competition in the video game sector was rejected by a US judge. A federal appeals court also rejected a request for an immediate stay on the deal. If the FTC challenge is eventually successful, the deal could theoretically be forced to be undone – but the chances of that happening appear to be very small.

In a blog post, Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, said that the companies will already "start the work to bring beloved Activision, Blizzard, and King franchises to Game Pass and other platforms".

The acquisition includes franchises from the Activision, Blizzard and King studios like “Warcraft,” “Diablo,” “Overwatch,” “Call of Duty” and “Candy Crush,” in addition to global eSports activities through Major League Gaming.

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