UK regulatory body the Competition and Markets Authority is reportedly preparing to share its preliminary judgement on Microsoft’s revised Activision Blizzard deal next week.
The CMA is, of course, Microsoft’s last remaining hurdle in getting its proposed $69bn acquisition of Activision Blizzard over the finish line after the UK regulator made the shock decision to block the deal in April, highlighting concerns relating to the burgeoning cloud gaming sector and arguing the deal would risk “stifling competition in this growing market”.
Following the CMA’s decision – and the Federal Trade Commission’s failure to secure a temporary halt on the deal in a US court – Microsoft returned to the UK regulator with a revised proposal, saying it would sell the streaming rights for all Activision Blizzard games released in the next 15 years to Ubisoft should the new deal be approved.
“Under the restructured transaction, Microsoft will not be in a position either to release Activision Blizzard games exclusively on its own cloud streaming service – Xbox Cloud Gaming – or to exclusively control the licensing terms of Activision Blizzard games for rival services,” Microsoft president Brad Smith said of the change at the time.
Since Microsoft’s revised deal was submitted, the CMA has started a fresh investigation of its new terms, and has previously said to expect a judgement by 18th October this year. However, The Verge – citing a source familiar with the matter – now reports the CMA is expected to issue a preliminary decision on Microsoft’s revised Activision Blizzard deal sometime next week.
This preliminary decision will then be followed by the Competition and Markets Authority’s final judgement on the previously agreed deadline of 18th October.