Going into this week, we knew that Microsoft and CMA might have had some positive news. If you recall, it was unveiled last week that Microsoft and the CMA agreed to have more discussions regarding Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. One of the means to ensure this deal goes through was appeasing the various regulators. The FTC lost a court case against Microsoft over this deal, and that prompted the CMA to reach out and see if Microsoft wouldn’t attempt to pause their appeal against the CMA, who initially rejected the acquisition earlier this year.
In order to pause this appeal, they would need to get approval from the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal. We knew last week that there would be a meeting today on this very subject. Now we know that the CAT has decided to grant the pause, thanks to a report from The Verge. It looks like there will be some requirements that will need to be completed by Thursday. Still, overall it seems the appeal is on hold, and that would grant the CMA more time to talk with Microsoft over their hesitation regarding the Activision Blizzard merger.
The big reason given as to why the CMA rejected this acquisition was due to cloud gaming concerns. That’s something that other regulators like the EU looked at but ultimately decided it wasn’t an issue that would prompt the rejection of this acquisition. As a result, we’re interested to see what ends up coming out from these discussions and just how soon we’ll see the official closure of the Activision Blizzard purchase.
Meanwhile, this is something we might not hear about until the end of next month. We know that the CMA has extended their final order date for this decision from July 18, 2023, to August 29, 2023. Of course, it’s possible that we’ll see an answer come out from the CMA regarding Microsoft’s receiving their approval well before the deadline approaches. At any rate, it’s purely a waiting game now for the CMA discussions with Microsoft to wrap up and if there are any changes being made by Microsoft to appease the regulator. In other news regarding this deal, we have heard from Phil Spencer that PlayStation signed a ten-year deal with Microsoft to ensure that Call of Duty will remain on the competitor console platform.