Microsoft and Activision leadership have now chimed in with their responses to CMA’s approval of their merger acquisition deal.
Microsoft President Brad Smith has shared this message on Twitter:
“We’re grateful for the CMA’s thorough review and decision today. We have now crossed the final regulatory hurdle to close this acquisition, which we believe will benefit players and the gaming industry worldwide.”
Activision Blizzard CEO, in the meantime, had this message for employees, in a company email that they also shared with the public:
“Today the CMA, the regulatory authority in the UK, approved our transaction with Microsoft.
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.
Our board chair Brian Kelly and I are incredibly proud of all of you and your accomplishments over the last four decades. We’re excited for our next chapter together with Microsoft and the endless possibilities it creates for you and for our players.”
There is very much one thing apparent in its absence in the messages from both company leaders. And that is that they did not say that they would be closing the deal immediately, or giving a date for when they intend to close the deal.
We have reported that both companies wanted to finalize the deal today, October 13, 2023. That, in spite of the ominous date being a Friday the 13th. They may very well go through with that, assuming that everything they needed to arrange for to get the deal finalized is ready to go on this date.
While the deadline isn’t up until October 18, 2023, Wednesday next week, it is understandable why the two companies would want to finish the deal as soon as possible. The extended wait for the deal in light of the multiple regulatory approvals meant that the status of the deal was in limbo for two years.
This isn’t just a hypothetical scenario for both of them, as they already had plans laid out in advance of what they were going to do next, and all of those plans were forcibly delayed.
Now, the FTC is still trying to make movements against the deal. After losing their case in federal court, they have brought back their suit in their own internal court. As we had repeatedly explained, this court cannot enforce their rulings like the federal court does, and exists solely to help the FTC with their decision making.
However, in a surprise move, the FTC prompted the start of another discovery process, to investigate the amended deal that adds Ubisoft. This will require Microsoft, Activision, Sony, Ubisoft, and others to give documents to the FTC, in a process that will take eight weeks.
To be clear, this discovery movement will be costly for the companies involved, and open them up to more leaks, but it won’t actually stop them from finalizing the deal. The most the FTC can hope for is a reverse ruling with the appeals court, and that’s highly unlikely given the appeals court’s track record and the FTC’s weak arguments, that already failed in federal court.
Now, it’s only a matter of time before we find out when the deal will be closed, and in fact if the two companies are signing the papers today.