The UK's competition regulator Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has approved Microsoft's bid to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion.
The approval comes after the restructuring of this deal by Microsoft to transfer cloud gaming rights belonging to Activision Blizzard games to Ubisoft, according to a report by The Verge.
This means that the deal, whose future hung in the balance since the start of 2022, will now go through.
“The CMA has decided to give Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft) consent to acquire Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Activision) (the Parties) excluding Activision’s cloud streaming rights outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) (the Merger) subject to the condition that the sale of Activision’s cloud streaming rights completes prior to completion of the Merger,” reads a statement from the CMA.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick emailed all employees today announcing the news. “We now have all regulatory approvals necessary to close and we look forward to bringing joy and connection to even more players around the world,” said Kotick. “We’re excited for our next chapter together with Microsoft and the endless possibilities it creates for you and for our players.”
The CMA's decision was made several months after the authority tried to ban Microsoft's agreement in April due to worries about cloud gaming.
Microsoft filed an appeal of that ruling with the UK's Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), but both parties suspended that proceeding in July to allow for Microsoft's restructured agreement, which was intended to allay the complaints.
Following fruitful negotiations with the CMA, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard decided to prolong the deadline for their merger agreement to 18 October.
The Xbox maker initially announced the transaction in January 2022, and regulators have been closely monitoring it ever since. An FTC v. Microsoft case, for example, exposed many Xbox trade secrets.
The inability of the Federal Trade Commission to obtain a preliminary injunction to halt the Microsoft merger is currently being appealed. The deal was originally announced in January 2022 by Microsoft.