UK’s Competition Authority Extends Deadline for Final Decision on Microsoft’s Acquisition of Activision Blizzard

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) Extends Deadline for Microsoft’s Acquisition of Activision Blizzard

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has extended the deadline for its final decision on Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

The regulator had been scheduled to deliver its ruling on the $69 billion merger by July 18, but will now do so by August 29.

Reasons for the Extension

“The CMA considers that there is insufficient time remaining in the statutory period for full and proper consideration of Microsoft’s submission on the proposed Order,” the watchdog said.

“As such, the Inquiry Group considers that there are special reasons to extend by six weeks… The revised period will therefore end on 29 August 2023.

“However, the Inquiry Group aims to discharge its duty as soon as possible and in advance of this date.”

Prior Blockage and Appeal

The CMA initially blocked the deal in April due to concerns about its impact on the nascent cloud gaming market.

Microsoft had been scheduled to appeal the decision in a court case beginning on July 28, but earlier this week the Xbox maker and the CMA paused legal proceedings with a view to reaching an out of court agreement.

Proposed Solution for Regulatory Approval

Microsoft is now reportedly considering selling some of its UK cloud gaming rights in a bid to seal regulatory approval for the deal.

According to Bloomberg sources, the company could sell the cloud-based market rights for games in the UK to a telecommunications, gaming, or internet-based computing company, or possibly a private equity firm.

It’s also been claimed that Microsoft executives have been exploring ways to close the acquisition despite a UK veto on the deal.

Deal Completion Deadline

Microsoft wants to complete the transaction before its current merger agreement expires on July 18, after which Activision Blizzard could walk away with a $3 billion termination fee if an extension isn’t agreed.

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