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Microsoft

UK regulators clear way for Microsoft and Activision merger

Portrait of James Powel James Powel
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British regulators cleared major roadblocks for the historic sale of video-game maker Activision Blizzard to tech giant Microsoft on Friday.

The Competition and Market Authority said that the restructuring of the deal to include the sale of cloud gaming services to Ubisoft substantially addressed the concerns of the United Kingdom's government for the purchase in a .

鈥淭he CMA鈥檚 position has been consistent throughout 鈥 this merger could only go ahead if competition, innovation, and choice in cloud gaming was preserved," Sarah Cardell, CEO of the CMA, said.

Restructuring keeps competitive market

The regulator was originally concerned that the merger would freeze out Microsoft's competitors from accessing cloud gaming from Activision's titles such as Call of Duty and Overwatch.

"In response to our original prohibition, Microsoft has now substantially restructured the deal, taking the necessary steps to address our original concerns." Cardell shared. "It would have been far better, though, if Microsoft had put forward this restructure during our original investigation."

The restructured deal requires Ubisoft to port Activision games to operating systems other than Microsoft's Windows system and support game emulators.

"The CMA鈥檚 preliminary approval is great news for our future with Microsoft," Activision Blizzard said in a statement provided to . "We鈥檙e pleased the CMA has responded positively to the solutions Microsoft has proposed, and we look forward to working with Microsoft toward completing the regulatory review process."

The acceptance of the restructured deal brings the two parties closer to the finish line for the over year and a half and $69 billion merger process.

"We presented solutions that we believe fully address the CMA鈥檚 remaining concerns related to cloud game streaming, and we will continue to work toward earning approval to close prior to the October 18 deadline," Brad Smith, President of Microsoft said in an X, formerly Twitter, post.

The European Union approved the merger in May and the United States Federal Trade Commission lost its appeal for injunctive relief to halt the merger in July, though an appeal is still in progress according to the .

The regulator still had lingering concerns about the enforceability of parts of the deal and has opened a separate consultation for Microsoft's proposed remedies.

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