We are now less than a month away from the deadline set by the UK Competition and Markets Authority regulator to make a decision on whether or not to approve Microsoft’s new plan to buy Activision Blizzard for $69 billion. Today, a new report claims that we won’t have to wait long for an initial decision.
The Verge It is reported, via unnamed sources, that the UK CMA is expected to offer its early decision sometime next week. The story offered no information on whether the CMA could approve or reject the deal. The deadline for the decision is set for October 18.
The CMA previously blocked another version of the deal in April, arguing that Microsoft could use Activision Blizzard’s games to boost its cloud gaming efforts. The regulator claimed that it would “hurt competition in the cloud gaming market”.
Microsoft appealed the decision, but before the trial officially began, the two sides decided to mutually suspend that appeal process. Microsoft then submitted a new purchase plan to the CMA in August, stating that if the deal went through, all current and future Activision Blizzard games would be available for cloud access by another game publisher, Ubisoft, for the next 15 years.
At the time, the CMA stated that we should not assume this new deal will receive the regulator’s approval, stating:
We will carefully and objectively assess the details of the new deal and its impact on competition, including in light of third party comments. Our goal has not changed – any future decision on this new deal will ensure that the growing cloud gaming market continues to benefit from open and effective competition that drives innovation and choice.
Microsoft has received approval to acquire Activision Blizzard from almost every other government regulator. The US Federal Trade Commission tried to get a federal judge to grant Microsoft a preliminary injunction to block the deal, but the judge and the appeals court ruled in Microsoft’s favor.