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UK Competition Authority Gives Preliminary Approval for Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard Deal

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has provided preliminary approval for Microsoft to proceed with its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. This decision comes after the CMA initially blocked the deal due to concerns about cloud gaming. However, Microsoft has recently revamped the agreement by transferring cloud gaming rights for both existing and future Activision Blizzard games to Ubisoft.

According to a press release from the CMA, the restructured deal addresses the concerns that were raised earlier in the year, and it “opens the door to the deal being cleared.” While this approval is preliminary, the CMA is now seeking third-party feedback on Microsoft's proposed remedies through a consultation period that will run until October 6th. A final decision is expected before the extended deadline of October 18th.

Although the CMA has identified a few remaining concerns with the revised deal, Microsoft has presented remedies that are believed to address these issues. Microsoft's vice chair and president, Brad Smith, expressed optimism about earning approval to close the deal before the October 18th deadline.

Activision Blizzard, the company being acquired by Microsoft, also welcomed the CMA's response. The CEO of Activision Blizzard, Bobby Kotick, described it as a “significant milestone” and expressed gratitude to employees for their dedication throughout the process.

The approval from the CMA is the final regulatory hurdle for Microsoft's massive deal with Activision Blizzard. With preliminary approval in hand, Microsoft can now move forward with confidence, pending the final ruling from the CMA.

Sources:

– The Verge: Thomas Ricker