Report: Microsoft to finalize Activision Blizzard purchase next week

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is currently in the very last stages of regulatory review for its planned $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard. 
  • The deal is being re-evaluated by the CMA, the regulator in the UK, after Microsoft agreed to sell off Cloud gaming rights for Activision titles. 
  • According to a new report, Microsoft is currently planning to close the deal on October 13, a few days after the CMA is expected to give final approval.

The mega-deal that has dominated the news cycle is almost over. 

While everyone is eyeing sometime in the next week for Microsoft to at long last finish its $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard, a new report from The Verge claims Microsoft expects to close the deal on October 13, just a few days after final approval from the CMA is expected to arrive. 

The deal currently has a deadline of Oct. 18, 2023, after which if it is not finalized and either party walks away, Microsoft is required to pay a hefty $4.5 billion breakup fee to Activision Blizzard. 

The CMA has already granted the deal preliminary approval, with the regulatory body’s concerns over the future of Cloud gaming mostly assuaged by Microsoft agreeing to sell of Activision Cloud gaming rights to Ubisoft, the publisher of titles like the Assassin’s Creed series.

This comes after the CMA previously blocked the deal over those same Cloud gaming concerns before reopening negotiations with Microsoft later on. Meanwhile, the FTC in the U.S. attempted to stall the deal in a court hearing. The ensuing Microsoft vs. FTC hearing saw the FTC’s attempts fail, and while the regulator is continuing to attempt to block the deal, its options are limited and the next hearing is scheduled for December, well after the purchase should be finalized.

Other regulators such as Japan and Brazil have already approved the deal, while the EU granted approval after getting Microsoft to agree to provide Cloud gaming licenses to other companies, including rival NVIDIA’s GeForce NOW streaming service.

Analysis: Stay on target

We keep getting closer, bit by bit, to seeing this thing through. It’s almost done, and there’s no reason to doubt The Verge’s report. I’m eager to see new games added to Xbox Game Pass, but I’m more eager to see Activision Blizzard employees allowed to unionize a couple of months after the deal finishes, in line with Microsoft’s neutrality agreement. 

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