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Friday, June 21, 2024

U.K. Reconsiders Activision Takeover Amid Revised Microsoft Offer

  • Microsoft is now offering cloud streaming rights to Ubisoft in hopes of finalizing its $69 billion Activision Blizzard takeover.
  • The U.K.’s antitrust watchdog is reviewing Microsoft's new proposal after blocking its deal in April.
The U.K. regulator is Microsoft's last major hurdle to pass.
Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY

Microsoft’s $69 billion Activision Blizzard acquisition has new chances to get approved in the U.K. after the tech giant revised parameters around its massive gaming deal takeover. 

The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority antitrust watchdog initially blocked the deal in April but will now reconsider Microsoft’s new proposal to give French video game publisher Ubisoft Entertainment SA cloud-streaming rights for Activision games, according to Bloomberg. The revised proposal could ease regulatory concerns about Microsoft having too much control over the nascent cloud gaming market. 

The CMA has set a new deadline of Oct. 18 for an initial ruling. Microsoft’s proposal would give Ubisoft exclusive streaming rights outside the European Economic Area of all Activision Blizzard titles, including Call of Duty, for the next 15 years. Ubisoft would receive non-exclusive streaming rights to the same gaming titles inside the region. 

“We had a real concern previously that Microsoft would be able to control the way that that market was going to develop,” CMA CEO Sarah Cardell told Bloomberg. “What we see with this new deal, and we will have to test it carefully through our review, is that rather than Microsoft being able to control how those cloud streaming rights are used, that control will shift to an independent company.”

The U.K.’s antitrust watchdog is Microsoft’s last major hurdle to pass before finalizing its Activision Blizzard takeover. Microsoft beat the FTC in court after initial challenges to approve the deal in the U.S., which has been cleared by regulators in Japan and the European Union. 

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