The saga of the acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft has become long and convoluted, and another chapter has just been added by the British regulator, the CMA.
The Competition & Markets Authority has extended the deadline for its final report on the acquisition to April 26, 2023, from the previous limit on March 1. This means that it'll likely take a couple of months longer to know if the antitrust body from the UK will opt to stand in the deal's way (even more than it already did). The announcement was published on the regulator's official website today.
Since the announcement of the deal valued at $68.7 billion, various regulatory bodies including the CMA itself and the American FTC have stepped in arguing in a variety of ways that it would potentially hinder competition despite the fact that Microsoft is certainly not in a position of leadership in the gaming industry.
The CMA ended the first phase of its investigation in September, opting to extend the proceeding into a second in-depth phase because "it is or may be the case that this Merger may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within a market or markets in the United Kingdom."
Microsoft has dismissed such claims, going as far as offering contractual deals with Sony and even Nintendo to publish the Call of Duty franchise on their platforms. Among industry participants, Sony Interactive Entertainment has been basically the only very visible party that brought as many arguments as possible to encourage regulators to block the acquisition, basically refusing all of the concessions offered by Microsoft as mediation, labeling them as insufficient.
At the moment, we don't know whether the deal will be approved, but Microsoft has been showing that, while it's willing to make concessions, it isn't interested in backing down.