A year and a half ago, Microsoft announced that it wanted to acquire Activision Blizzard. With an acquisition value of nearly $69 billion, this would not only be Microsoft’s largest acquisition, but also the largest deal ever made in the gaming industry. After the acquisition, Microsoft will also acquire a number of mega franchises in one fell swoop, from Call of Duty and Crash Bandicoot to Diablo and World of Warcraft.
The deal drew criticism almost immediately, from competitors, Sony and regulators alike. They were concerned that Microsoft would gain too much power after the acquisition and could abuse this position to hinder competition. The feasibility of the deal was uncertain because of that opposition: from the US Federal Trade Commission doing all it could to stop the takeover to the UK Capital Markets Authority blocking the takeover altogether.
In recent weeks it has been gaining momentum and Microsoft and Activision are now entering quieter territory. The FTC lost its federal lawsuit and it turns out that the CMA is open to negotiations again. Microsoft and the CMA have now paused their pleas to continue discussing the deal. This makes it increasingly likely that Microsoft’s $1 billion deal will be completed in the coming weeks and months.
In this article we discuss the events of the past few weeks. We’re looking at regulators’ concerns, the FTC-Microsoft lawsuit, the court’s conclusions, and what’s to come in the coming weeks in anticipation of the UK’s CMA.