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Microsoft Will Amend Its Activision Blizzard Acquisition To Address The CMA’s Concerns, Appeals Process Put On Pause

Well, it looks like the largest acquisition in games industry history will go through, because not only did Microsoft win its case to stop the FTC’s injunction, it may be about to topple its other biggest hurdle, the UK’s Competitive Markets Authority (CMA).

After the CMA’s decision to block Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard began appealing the decision.

Today, just after it was revealed the FTC would not get its injunction, both the CMA and Microsoft announced it agreed to put that appeal on pause, while Microsoft works to change the deal in the hopes it will address the CMA’s concerns.

A statement given to GamesIndustry.Biz from Microsoft president and vice chair Brad Smith confirms that not only will Microsoft be amending the deal, the CMA is willing to hear if these changes will address its concerns.

“After today’s court decision in the US, our focus now turns back to the UK.” said Smith.

“While we ultimately disagree with the CMA’s concerns, we are considering how the transaction might be modified in order to address those concerns in a way that is acceptable to the CMA.

In order to prioritize work on these proposals, Microsoft and Activision have agreed with the CMA that a stay of the litigation in the UK would be in the public interest and the parties have made a joint submission to the Competition Appeal Tribunal to this effect.”

For the CMA’s part, it said “we stand ready to consider any proposals from Microsoft to restructure the transaction in a way that would address the concerns set out in our Final Report.”

With the CMA now standing alone in its attempts to block the deal, it wouldn’t be surprising to see it agree to any modifications Microsoft may make to its deal.

It’s worth pointing out of course that the FTC still stands against the deal as well, and that today’s loss was only regarding its attempted injunction. But the last time the FTC lost an injunction attempt to stop another big tech deal, it abandoned the fight.

And today’s win against the FTC means that Microsoft can watch the FTC look on in disapprovingly as it closes the deal anyways, unable to do anything about it.

The EU has already approved the deal, and it stands approved in every other region. It’s looking dire for the CMA and anyone else who didn’t want the deal to go through.

At least we can finally begin to see the end of this deal. It has been the big talking point since it was announced more than a year ago, and even just recently it didn’t look like it would be over anytime soon.

Now the fact that it’ll go through is much closer to being a sure one, Microsoft might even try closing the deal even without the CMA’s approval just to get it done, as awkward of a situation that would create for the millions of UK players who play any Activision Blizzard titles.

The potential wrath of UK Call Of Duty fans alone might scare the CMA into approving the deal at this point. It’s just a wait-and-see game for how it goes through at this point, rather than if.

Source – [GamesIndustry.Biz]