September 30, 2023

After a US court docket dominated that Microsoft might full its acquisition of Activision Blizzard yesterday, all eyes at the moment are on the UK’s Competitors and Markets Authority (CMA), which was the primary antitrust regulator to dam the deal in April. Yesterday, the CMA had a sudden change of coronary heart and mentioned in a press release that it was able to renegotiate with Microsoft.

“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 closing report,” the CMA mentioned in its first assertion yesterday. Right now, the regulator has adopted up with a second assertion with a warning (through Reuters): The CMA received’t settle for new treatments from Microsoft, and it’s additionally able to open a brand new investigation if Microsoft chooses to restructure its Activision Blizzard deal.

“While merging events don’t have the chance to place ahead new treatments as soon as a closing report has been issued, they’ll select to restructure a deal, which may result in a brand new merger investigation. Microsoft and Activision have indicated that they’re contemplating how the transaction could be modified, and the CMA is ready to interact with them on this foundation,” the CMA mentioned on this new assertion.

The regulator additionally mentioned that discussions with Microsoft are nonetheless “at an early stage” and that the following steps have but to be decided. “Whereas each events have requested a pause in Microsoft’s attraction to permit these discussions to happen, the CMA choice set out in its closing report nonetheless stands,” the CMA mentioned.

Whereas Microsoft continues to barter with the CMA, the regulator opening a brand new investigation of a restructured deal can be one other sudden flip of occasions for an already drawn-out acquisition course of. Earlier than the CMA agreed to re-open discussions with Microsoft, the software program large was on the brink of attraction the CMA’s choice to dam the deal on the Competitors Enchantment Tribunal, with the trial beginning on July 28.