Microsoft-Activision Blizzard $69 billion deal closes as it gets UK CMA approval

xbox the creator Microsoft closed its $69 billion (about Rs 5,75,620 crore) deal activism blizzard On Friday, it expanded its dominance in the video-gaming market with best-selling titles including Call of Duty to better compete with the industry leader. Sony,

Originally unveiled in January 2022, the biggest deal in the gaming industry cleared its final major hurdle – approval from the UK – earlier in the day after Microsoft announced a deal for Activision’s game to address competition concerns. Had agreed to sell streaming rights.

The completion is a major win for the US tech firm in its effort to attract more people to its Xbox console and Game Pass subscription service. Microsoft’s gaming revenue lags behind Sony, whose Play Station Consoles outsell Xbox.

“Today is a good day to play,” Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer said in a post on the X social media platform, as it was formerly known. Twitter, He will oversee the Activision business, with the video-game publisher’s CEO Bobby Kotick staying on through the end of 2023.

Spencer has described this purchase as a way for Microsoft to enter the market of more than $ 90 billion (about Rs 7,50,800 crore) of mobile games.

Activision builds popular mobile titles including candy Crush Saga And call of duty mobile – Games that were excluded from the cloud streaming deal Microsoft signed with France Ubisoft Entertainment To secure approval from Britain.

“Microsoft has mobile revenue of more than $3 billion (about Rs 25,000 crore) immediately,” said Michael Pachter, analyst at Wedbush Securities.

He said, “The big advantage is that Microsoft’s view is that they’re going to distribute games through subscription, and they need more content to give to customers. So, this is a big step forward in having enough content.” It’s a step.”

regulatory barriers

The deal still faces opposition from the US Federal Trade Commission, which failed in its previous attempt to block the purchase. The FTC said Friday that it is focused on its appeal, but that it will “assess” Microsoft’s settlement with Ubisoft.

But analysts believe that this will bring little change. “The impact of the FTC challenge will be limited to incremental concessions in the future,” said DA Davidson analyst Gil Luria.

The main hurdle came from Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority, which originally blocked the deal in April over concerns it could give the US tech giant a stranglehold on the emerging cloud gaming market.

The deal was the biggest test of the CMA’s global power to take on tech giants since Britain left the European Union.

The regulator said on Friday that merging companies “sticking to their guns” despite criticism has led to better outcomes for competition, consumers and economic growth.

Microsoft’s concession on streaming was a “game changer”, the CMA said, adding that it was the only competition agency globally to deliver this result.

“The new deal will prevent Microsoft from stifling competition in cloud gaming as this market moves forward, while preserving competitive prices and services for UK cloud gaming customers,” it said in a statement.

The CMA block had sparked anger among the merger parties, with Microsoft saying the UK was closed to business.

The British government offered only limited support to the CMA, with Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt saying that although he did not want to undermine its independence, regulators also needed to focus on encouraging investment.

Sarah Cardell, chief executive of the CMA, said the regulator had “sent a clear message to Microsoft that unless they comprehensively address our concerns and we stick to that, the deal will be blocked.”

He said the CMA made its decisions “free of political influence” and would not be “influenced by corporate lobbying”.

Quilter Cheviot equity analyst Ben Barringer said the CMA would see this as a win, but would need to be careful not to over-regulate the tech sector.

“There are fears that the UK is a bad place to do business and its activities will be closely watched, particularly by the tech industry,” he said.

The European Commission gave the green light in May when it accepted Microsoft’s commitments to license games like Activision’s overwatch And world of Warcraft On other platforms.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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