The UK CMA has announced its preliminary approval of the Microsoft-Activision Blizzard merger this morning, pointing to "remedies" that allay its residual concerns with the newly-proposed deal.
In the new version, Microsoft declared that it would cede Activision cloud gaming rights to Ubisoft, which could then license out those rights, thus averting a cloud gaming monopoly on Microsoft's part.
Now, in a new announcement issued earlier today, the CMA has declared that this decision "substantially addresses previous concerns" and "opens the door to the deal being cleared".
The CMA says that although it has "limited residual concerns" with the deal, Microsoft has since submitted "remedies" that the authority says "should address these issues".
The CMA's concerns relate to the potential for the sale of Activision's cloud rights to Ubisoft to be "circumvented, terminated, or not enforced".
To address those concerns, Microsoft has added a proviso that the cloud rights sale would be "enforceable by the CMA".
This additional protection should, the CMA says, alleviate its concerns, and so a provisional approval has been issued.
For his part, Activision Blizzard head Bobby Kotick called the CMA's decision "a significant milestone for the merger" and said he "remain[s] optimistic" that the deal will complete.
It's important to note that this decision is preliminary and provisional; it's not binding yet, so the deal has yet to be given final approval.
In its announcement, the CMA says it has "opened a consultation" until October 6th, at which point a decision will be reached. As such, it's too early for Microsoft or Activision Blizzard to celebrate just yet.
Still, this is a significant step forward for the deal, and, as far as Microsoft is concerned, could well represent the easing of a major headache. We'll have to wait and see what happens next.