September 30, 2023

Within the wake of Microsoft’s beautiful authorized victory in opposition to the FTC’s try to dam its Activision Blizzard acquisition, the UK Competitors and Markets Authority (CMA) has agreed to renegotiate its resolution in opposition to the deal. That is an unbelievable growth that casts the possible end result of this acquisition in a wholly new mild.

In different phrases, this deal goes by means of.

“We stand prepared to contemplate any proposals from Microsoft to restructure the transaction in a method that might handle the considerations set out in our ultimate report,” a UK Competitors and Markets Authority assertion reads. “So as to have the ability to prioritize work on these proposals, Microsoft and Activision have agreed with the CMA {that a} keep of litigation within the UK can be within the public curiosity and all events have made a joint submission to the Competitors Enchantment Tribunal to this impact.”

“After at the moment’s courtroom resolution within the US our focus now turns again to the UK,” Microsoft president Brad Smith added. “Whereas we finally disagree with the CMA’s considerations, we’re contemplating how the transaction is perhaps modified as a way to handle these considerations in a method that’s acceptable to the CMA.”

As I’m certain you recognize, the UK CMA inexplicably selected to dam the Activision Blizzard merger in April, citing considerations that Microsoft may by some means dominate the non-existent marketplace for cloud gaming. Microsoft appealed that call in Could, and the 2 sides have been scheduled to face off in a trial beginning July 28. The problem there was that this date is after the July 18 deal termination deadline that Microsoft and Activision Blizzard agreed to. And so Microsoft was reportedly planning to consummate the acquisition whatever the UK’s opposition ought to the FTC, the one different main regulatory physique to dam the acquisition, lose in courtroom. Which it simply did.

And so, miraculously, the CMA desires to debate issues once more regardless of having issued a ultimate ruling. And that signifies that, ought to the 2 sides come to phrases shortly, Microsoft can proceed with its acquisition with no authorized weirdness. And if they can not agree, you recognize what? I feel Microsoft ought to undergo with it anyway. The CMA’s resolution was nonsensical and unfair to start with.

What a day.