UK government regulator the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced Tuesday that it has set a new deadline of Oct. 18 for decision on what it calls a “phase 1” investigation of a new proposal by Microsoft to finalize its proposed $69B USd acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
When the CMA made a decision to block the acquisition earlier this year, it focused on the impact of cloud streaming/gaming as the core reason, but a new proposal from Microsoft would see the company divest the cloud streaming rights to all current and future Activision Blizzard titles for the next 15 years to France-based game maker Ubisoft Entertainment.
In a statement released Monday, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said that this new proposal wouldn’t have a substantial impact of the deal: “For us, nothing substantially changes with the addition of this divestiture: our merger agreement with Microsoft [MSFT], closing deadline, and the cash consideration to be paid for each Activision [ATVI] share at closing remain the same.”
At this point, the CMA is really the last hurdle in Microsoft finalizing its deal with Activision Blizzard, as most other jurisdictions have either given approval—or in the case of the Federal Trade Commission in the United States—lost in court.
If the deal does finally get approved by the CMA it will see esports for multiple titles operating under the Microsoft banner directly or indirectly; this includes Halo, Overwatch League, Call of Duty League, Hearthstone, StarCraft, and World of Warcraft’s regular “World’s First” competitions when new content is released for the long-running MMO.