It's official. Microsoft completes its Activision Blizzard acquisition deal

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After months of back-and-forth saga, Microsoft has finally completed its $69 billion-worth Activision Blizzard acquisition deal. The deal was closed today on October 13, 2023.

The announcement arrived not too long after UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) greenlighted the deal without cloud gaming rights. 

“I’ve long admired the work of Activision, Blizzard, and King, and the impact they’ve had on gaming, entertainment, and pop culture,” says Xbox’s boss Phil Spencer in the official announcement.

This deal is the biggest in the history of gaming, and makes Microsoft the third-largest gaming company in the world, behind only Tencent and Sony.

“We believe our news today will unlock a world of possibilities for more ways to play,” he further reassures.

Activision is the maker of popular video games such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush. Not too long ago, the video game studio was spotted “preparing” for Call of Duty games to be launched through Xbox Game Pass subscription service.

It has been quite a bumpy ride. The acquisition was first announced in January 2022, then approved by Activision’s shareholderes in April. 

The UK’s CMA had initially blocked the deal and launched its investigation back in June 2022, followed by the US’ Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in December. 

The reasoning? They alleged that the deal would give Microsoft too much power in the gaming industry and would harm competition. 

Microsoft argued that the deal would be beneficial to consumers, as it would allow the company to invest more in Activision Blizzard’s studios and products. 

Microsoft also said that it would keep Activision Blizzard’s games on multiple platforms and would not make any of them exclusive to Xbox.

The suit was put to bed in July 2023 when a federal judge ruled in favor of Microsoft, denying the FTC’s preliminary injunction request. The judge found that the FTC had not shown a likelihood that it would prevail on its claim that the deal would harm competition.

The deadline for the Microsoft-Activision Blizzard acquisition was originally July 2023, but the companies extended it to October 2023. 

Then, in September 2023, the UK’s CMA provisionally approved the deal after the companies agreed to make some changes to the terms of the merger — the full greenlight was announced today without cloud gaming rights.

To address the anti-competition concerns, Microsoft has also inked several binding deals with companies like Nintendo and Nvidia for its GeForce Now streaming service to keep the CoD games available on their platforms.

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