Microsoft Proposes Restructured Activision Merger After CMA Blocks Original Deal

Published: August 22, 2023 5:42 AM /


A soldier with a sniper rifle kneeling in a field in the Activision Blizzard game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III, meant to represent the Microsoft Activision Blizzard merger

Microsoft has submitted a restructured version of its proposed Activision-Blizzard acquisition after the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) confirmed it blocked the original deal.

In a statement released this morning, the CMA confirmed that Microsoft has submitted a "new, restructured deal" that excludes cloud gaming rights for Activision's PC and console games for the next fifteen years.

Instead, those rights will be "divested to Ubisoft...prior to Microsoft's acquisition of Activision". This is intended to alleviate the CMA's fears that Microsoft would obtain a cloud gaming monopoly if the original deal were to go ahead unaltered.

It's the CMA's belief that if Activision cloud gaming rights are handed to Ubisoft, then the latter will "be able to license out Activision's content under different business models, including subscription services".

As part of that deal, Ubisoft has also announced that a range of Activision Blizzard titles will also be added to its Ubisoft+ subscription service in the future. More information regarding "how and when" this will happen will be available soon, according to Ubisoft.

The new deal also proposes to give Ubisoft the ability to "require Microsoft to provide versions of games on operating systems other than Windows".

Two teams of heroes battling against one another in a futuristic area in Overwatch 2, an Activision Blizzard game
Activision-Blizzard games like Overwatch 2 won't exclusively be available on Microsoft cloud gaming platforms under the new, proposed deal.

CMA chief executive Sarah Cardell also confirmed that the deal as it currently stands "cannot proceed".

Cardell says that the newly proposed deal is "substantially different" to what was on the table before, and that a new Phase 1 investigation has been opened, with a new deadline of October 18th for a decision.

According to Cardell, however, this does not represent "a green light"; the CMA intends to "carefully and objectively" examine the new deal and its potential impact on competition in the gaming industry.

In its own statement, Microsoft says it believes the restructured deal "brings us one step closer to bringing the joy of gaming to players everywhere".

Microsoft president Brad Smith says the deal is now in a position to proceed in over 40 countries (which include New Zealand, South Korea, and Japan, as well as the European Commission).

This saga began when the UK's CMA blocked Microsoft's original proposed deal on the grounds that the authority believed it could seriously damage cloud gaming competition.

Microsoft originally intended to appeal the decision, but after the US FTC was defeated in court over the merger, Microsoft and the CMA instead agreed to get back around the negotiating table to discuss the deal further.

We'll have to wait and see whether this new deal meets the CMA's requirements. Stay tuned to TechRaptor for more on this historic merger.


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