In addition to all the news about layoffs, the future of the Overwatch League, and record Q2 2023 profits, Activision Blizzard together with Microsoft announced Wednesday that its deadline for completion of the proposed $69B USD acquisition has been pushed from July 18 to Oct. 18. In an announcement, Microsoft said that the extension of this deadline is “to allow for additional time to resolve remaining regulatory concerns.”
The new agreement and extension allows Activision Blizzard to pay $0.99 per share to its shareholders, and both parties have agreed that the “deal termination fee” (it would have been $3B if it came into effect today) is not subject to any condition other than a failure to close. If the deal does not close by Aug. 29—and it decides to terminate the deal—Microsoft agrees to pay a termination fee of $3.5B, which will increase to $4.5B if it is not completed by Sept. 18.
In a social media post announcing the news, Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith said:
“Together with Activision, we are announcing the extension of our merger agreement to 10/18 to provide ample time to work through the final regulatory issues. We will honor all commitments agreed upon with the EC and other regulators and continue to work with the CMA on the issues raised in the UK. We are confident about our prospects for getting this deal across the finish line.
“As we near the finish line, today’s extension with Activision enables us to focus on addressing comprehensively and properly the UK’s statutory requirements while sustaining fully our obligations across the EU.”
Earlier this week Microsoft and the UK antitrust regulator the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) were granted a two-month pause on their legal battle from the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT). The presiding justice in the appeals case, Judge Marcus Smith, granted the pause but told the CMA that he wants proof that this is the right course of action. For Microsoft and the CMA, the pause gives both sides breathing room to hammer out some sort of compromise that will let the agency back out of its decision to block the acquisition earlier this year (mostly due to concerns about the impact on cloud gaming business in the country).
As of this writing, only Australia, Canada, and New Zealand have the potential to oppose the deal, while the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the U.S. failed an attempt to pause the deal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday after a lower court judge ruled that it did not show enough evidence to warrant granting a preliminary injunction.