UK regulatory body the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced Monday that it has narrowed its “scope of concerns” related to the proposed $69B USD Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard, and that it would issue a final decision on Wednesday.
The CMA said in its announcement that new evidence and consultation with interested parties has caused the government agency to change its determination, noting that it is no longer concerned about the acquisition and has adjusted its preliminary findings accordingly:
“The CMA has received a significant amount of new evidence in response to its original provisional findings. Having considered this new evidence carefully, together with the wide range of information gathered before those provisional findings were issued, the CMA inquiry group has updated its provisional findings and reached the provisional conclusion that, overall, the transaction will not result in a substantial lessening of competition in relation to console gaming in the UK.”
Martin Coleman, chair of the independent panel of experts conducting the Microsoft – Activision Blizzard review, added:
“Having considered the additional evidence provided, we have now provisionally concluded that the merger will not result in a substantial lessening of competition in console gaming services because the cost to Microsoft of withholding Call of Duty from PlayStation would outweigh any gains from taking such action.”
The CMA also said that it will make a final ruling on Wednesday. It is likely that the deal will be approved.
With the CMA review netting a positive result, Microsoft just needs to deal with the European Union’s European Commission and the U.S. agency the Federal Trade Commission to approve the deal. It is unclear where either of those agencies will land on opposing or approving the deal as of this writing.
In March, Japan was the latest country to approve the merger, joining Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Serbia, and Chile.