Microsoft is preparing to overcome a major hurdle in its acquisition of Activision Blizzard: the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
The regulator, which works to curb anti-competitive practices in the UK, had previously launched an investigation into the $69 billion deal, and released its interim findings back in February. At the time, the CMA was concerned about a number of aspects of the deal including a potential monopoly on the cloud gaming market, the possibility of Xbox exclusivity for Call of Duty, and reduced competition with PlayStation.
However, last month the CMA issued a statement saying that one of its main concerns had been addressed, and specified that if Xbox made a Call of Duty exclusive, it would ultimately cost the company money. And in the past several days, several reports appeared, indicating that the CMA is likely to approve the deal when it issues its ruling tomorrow.
The New York Post in particular says the deal has made “surprise progress” in both the UK and EU recently thanks to Microsoft’s promises to give both Sony and Nintendo access to Call of Duty in the long term.
Microsoft Acquires Activision Blizzard: The Story So Far
The deal is not quite done
If the Capital Markets Authority approves the acquisition, it will still face challenges in other regions, most notably the European Union and the United States. While the EU-UK approval will likely influence the US Federal Trade Commission to make a similar decision, legal experts who speak to IGN are divided on what the FTC is likely to do when preliminary hearings begin in August. However, the New York Post’s reporting on the CMA’s supposed ruling suggests that a potential victory in the UK will only make Microsoft more aggressive in its battle abroad. “They’re going to shove this up the FTC’s neck,” said one of the sources.
The CMA’s decision will arrive just a day after Microsoft’s third-quarter earnings report, which today shows gaming revenue down 4% to $3.6 billion, Xbox content and services revenue up 3% thanks to Game Pass growth, and Xbox revenue down 30% thanks to in The previous year a similar rise by oversupply of console after the epidemic shortage.
Rebecca Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @employee.
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