It’s looking increasingly likely Microsoft’s proposed $69bn USD acquisition of Activision Blizzard will have cleared its final hurdle if – as is widely expected – UK regulators approve the revised deal later this week; it’s being reported EU regulators won’t require an investigation into the revised terms, clearing the way for the acquisition to conclude.
The European Commission approved Microsoft’s original acquisition proposal back in May after successfully securing a number of concessions to lessen the deal’s potential impact on the emerging cloud gaming market. However, Microsoft was forced to submit a revised proposal after the deal was blocked by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority.
These revised terms – which will give Ubisoft exclusive control of streaming rights for Activision’s titles outside of the EU – were provisionally approved by the CMA in September, and the regulator is expected to formally approve the deal this Friday, 13th October.
Bloomberg now reports the European Commission has been assessing the revised terms but, according to people familiar with the matter, has concluded the changes designed to appease UK regulators don’t raise any new competition concerns that would alter its original findings. As such, it won’t require another approvals process – which would have created further delays for a deal Microsoft was initially hoping to finalise this summer.
In a statement provided to Bloomberg, a European Commission spokesperson acknowledged EU regulators had been “assessing [the] potential impact” of Microsoft’s revisions, but declined to comment further on the specifics of the publication’s report.
Even if the European Commission has no further concerns and the UK’s CMA approves the Activision Blizzard deal this week as expected, Microsoft still faces a challenge from the US Federal Trade Commission, which has opted to push ahead with its in-house trial. However, while the FTC can still challenge the deal, it won’t be able to derail it from going through by 18th October – Microsoft’s current deadline.