Microsoft closes Activision Blizzard acquisition after UK’s nod

Image Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft has finally closed its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, significantly expanding its presence in the video gaming market by adding top-selling titles like “Call of Duty,” in a bid to enhance its competitive position against industry leader Sony.

This is Microsoft’s most substantial deal in its 48-year history, and it follows the successful resolution of concerns raised by UK and European regulators, along with a favorable ruling from a U.S. district judge. Earlier on Friday, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority granted approval for the deal, paving the way for its finalization.

In April, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) thwarted the deal, citing concerns that it could grant the U.S. tech giant excessive control over the emerging cloud gaming market. However, the regulator took an unconventional approach by revisiting the case when Microsoft, in a change of strategy, committed to selling streaming rights for Activision’s games to Ubisoft and implemented measures to ensure the enforceability of the terms.

This deal provides Microsoft with a substantial collection of video game franchises, such as Call of Duty, Crash Bandicoot, Diablo, Overwatch, StarCraft, Tony Hawk Pro Skater, and Warcraft. In the most recent fiscal year, the game developer generated $7.5 billion in revenue, a modest fraction of Microsoft’s $212 billion in total sales.

“Today we start the work to bring beloved Activision, Blizzard, and King franchises to Game Pass and other platforms,” Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer said in a blog post. “We’ll share more about when you can expect to play in the coming months.”

This integration could potentially enhance in-game experiences, such as those found in WoW, where players engage in the popular practice of buying WoW gold, particularly with the upcoming release of Dragonflight, the latest expansion in the WoW series.

“We’re grateful for the CMA’s thorough review and decision today,” Microsoft vice chair and president Brad Smith said in a post on X. We have now crossed the final regulatory hurdle to close this acquisition, which we believe will benefit players and the gaming industry worldwide.”

“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… We’re excited for our next chapter together with Microsoft and the endless possibilities it creates for you and for our players,” Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said in an email to employees sent Friday.

Written by Sophie Blake


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