Microsoft prepares to close Activision Blizzard purchase agreement
According to new reports, Microsoft is preparing to close the deal on its long-fought acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
In early 2022, Microsoft shook up the internet by announcing that it would acquire gaming giant Activision, the company behind Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and many other massive gaming franchises. The deal was confirmed to cost nearly $70 billion, making it the biggest deal in gaming history. However, regulators and some industry experts rejected the idea of the deal, as many feared it would give Microsoft too much power.
Some worried that Microsoft would make Call of Duty an Xbox exclusive, which could be detrimental to PlayStation given the huge commercial success Call of Duty enjoys every year. Various regulators have taken a fine-toothed comb to the deal over the last year and the FTC has even moved to block it entirely, but it seems to no longer bother Microsoft.
According to The New York Post, Microsoft is preparing to close the Activision deal despite the FTC’s antitrust lawsuit. The Post reports that Microsoft is feeling incredibly optimistic as antitrust regulators in the UK and EU have made significant progress in recent weeks in approving the deal after Microsoft promised to keep Call of Duty on rival platforms.
The UK CMA is expected to approve the deal this week and the European Commission will make its decision next month. Antitrust experts told The Post this would make the FTC’s attempt to block the deal an uphill battle. The idea now is that the FTC will be the only one trying to stop this merger and that Microsoft will “shove this down the FTC’s throat”, which will make it more difficult for a judge to side with the FTC.
Of course, only time will tell how this plays out, but it certainly looks like things are headed in a positive direction for Microsoft. The deal was previously expected to close in June 2023, though it’s unclear if any legal dispute has halted it. It looks like if Microsoft can close the deal in the next few weeks, it could happen, which could mean that this year’s Call of Duty game could be the first in the series released under Xbox ownership.