Microsoft's Activision deal for Xbox takes another step forward in the UK

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(Image credit: Activision)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is attempting to buy Activision Blizzard for almost $69 billion. 
  • After the FTC in the U.S. was denied injunctive relief to halt the purchase, only the CMA in the U.K. remains as an obstacle to keep the deal from going through.
  • The CAT agreed to halt the appeal process at the request of both Microsoft and the CMA, in order for the two to reach a new agreement, pending some additional information.
  • Microsoft and Activision will likely be negotiating an extension for the deal's closing date, which is currently set for July 18, 2023. 

While Microsoft's biggest purchase ever isn't quite done yet, it's inching closer and closer.

Microsoft is attempting to buy Activision Blizzard for $69 billion, a deal that is now clear to proceed in much of the world except the U.K. Microsoft and U.K. regulator the CMA previously requested to halt the appeal process with the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) following negotiations reopening between the two parties. 

On Monday, the CAT agreed to halt the appeal process in order for Microsoft and the CMA to discuss a new structure for the acquisition — this reportedly includes Microsoft selling Cloud gaming rights for Activision titles in the U.K. to another company — as long as the parties were able to submit evidence by July 20 to back up their claims of reaching a deal.

This news also came after Microsoft's victory against the FTC in the U.S, with a federal judge ruling that the deal would be more likely to help competition than hinder it. The FTC appealed the decision and sought injunctive relief to temporarily stop the merger in the U.S, the latter of which was denied by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

With the merger's close-by date set for July 18, 2023, it's now overwhelmingly likely that Microsoft and Activision will have to negotiate and extend the deal's closing date  by a few weeks. 

Windows Central's take

As we've known for some time now, it's clear the deal is closing. It's been a bumpy road, and it'll end up taking longer than expected, but Microsoft and the CMA wouldn't have pushed this hard to abandon the appeal process at CAT if either side believed they couldn't get things through in the next few weeks. 

While Microsoft and Activision technically don't have to announce a new close-by date, I do expect we'll get one just to provide some certainty, probably for the end of August. 

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.