Video games: “provisional” agreement from London to the acquisition by Microsoft of the publisher of “Call of Duty”

2023-09-25 19:59:04

Microsoft, owner of Xbox, is well on its way to overcoming the last obstacle that prevents it from getting its hands on the popular video game factory of Activision Blizzard, publisher of “Call of Duty”, “Diablo”, “Candy Crush “.

This mega buyout, estimated at $69 billion, is part of Microsoft’s very expensive bet to strengthen its position in gaming, and help its successful Xbox console compete with Sony’s PlayStation. The British competition authority, the CMA, announced on Friday that it was giving a provisional green light to the new takeover agreement by the American giant Microsoft of Activision Blizzard, publisher of the video game “Call of Duty”. The CMA reports in a press release “limited residual concerns” about this merger, for which Microsoft “has proposed solutions”, the competition watchdog concluding “provisionally that these additional protections should resolve the remaining concerns”.

Process on track
The CMA says it has opened a “consultation until October 6 on the changes proposed by Microsoft. Brad Smith, vice president of Microsoft, reacted on Friday on the social network Twitter, saying he was “encouraged by these positive advances in the CMA review process.” “This (provisional) approval from the CMA is crucial to finalizing our merger,” added Activision CEO Bobby Kotick. The software giant submitted an amended version of its takeover project for Activision Blizzard to the British authority a month ago, finally hoping for a green light after a refusal in April.

A marathon procedure
The software titan notably planned in the new version of its colossal takeover project notable transfers of Activision Blizzard’s online gaming rights – including those to the global hits Call of Duty and Candy Crush – which will be sold to the French company Ubisoft . The CMA, which had thwarted the plans of the American Goliath by blocking its proposed operation at the end of April, fearing that it would reduce competition too much in the dematerialized games market, then opened a new preliminary investigation. The CMA’s halt to this mega-operation at the end of April had triggered the ire of Microsoft, with Brad Smith decrying this day as “the darkest of four decades (of Microsoft) in Great Britain”, and adding that it shook the US software giant’s confidence in Britain as a home for tech companies. The European Commission, for its part, approved this acquisition in May.

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Sami Nemli with agencies / Les Inspirations ECO

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