Back in January of 2022, Microsoft announced its plans to acquire Activation Blizzard in a transaction valued at $68.7 billion – the largest deal in the gaming industry. The deal didn’t exactly go as planned with regulators from the US, the EU and the UK objecting to the takeover. Microsoft managed to win a court injunction in the US and later received approval from the EU regulators which left the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) as the only major hurdle against the deal.
Well, that hurdle has now been cleared as the CMA has given the green light on the deal.
The key bit is Microsoft will divest cloud gaming rights for Activision titles to Ubisoft which eliminates the CMA’s biggest gripe with the deal. This means Microsoft will not be able to license any cloud gaming rights for existing or future Activision Blizzard titles over the next 15 years. The CMA believes this will result in improved competition which is better for consumers and for economic growth.
The sale of Activision’s cloud streaming rights to Ubisoft will prevent the distribution of important, popular content – including games such as Call of Duty, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft – from coming under the control of Microsoft in relation to cloud gaming. The restructured deal substantially addressed the concerns that the CMA had following its original investigation, which concluded earlier this year.
The CMA did identify limited residual concerns with the new deal, but Microsoft gave undertakings that will ensure that the terms of the sale of Activision’s rights to Ubisoft are enforceable by the CMA.
The CMA consulted on these undertakings and is satisfied that this will provide the safety net needed to make sure this deal is properly implemented.- CMA press release
Activision Blizzard will now become a division of Microsoft Gaming which will make Microsoft the third-largest gaming company after Tencent and Sony.