We're almost there, folks! The UK's Competition and Markets Authority has today announced that it has granted preliminary approval for Microsoft to purchase Activision Blizzard. The CMA's decision still needs to be consulted with any third parties involved in the process, but for all intents and purposes, the authority is now happy for the deal to go ahead.
In an announcement posted on the UK GOV website, the CMA goes into a bit more detail on its new decision:
"While the CMA has identified limited residual concerns with the new deal, Microsoft has put forward remedies which the CMA has provisionally concluded should address these issues.
The CMA considers that the restructured deal makes important changes that substantially address the concerns it set out in relation to the original transaction earlier this year."
As was already established, much of the CMA's concern surrounded Xbox Cloud Gaming and its future in the marketplace. Exactly a month ago, Microsoft attempted to placate the CMA's cloud concerns by agreeing a deal with Ubisoft in the UK, however the authority still needed additional remedies to reach today's positive decision.
"While the restructured deal is materially different to the previous transaction and substantially addresses most concerns, the CMA has limited residual concerns that certain provisions in the sale of Activision’s cloud streaming rights to Ubisoft could be circumvented, terminated, or not enforced.
To address these concerns, Microsoft has offered remedies to ensure that the terms of the sale of Activision’s rights to Ubisoft are enforceable by the CMA. The CMA has provisionally concluded that this additional protection should resolve those residual concerns."
Barring any unexpected twists and turns, the UK CMA should fully approve the merger in the next few weeks. The authority is now set to discuss its new decision with various third parties that are involved with the situation, and a date has been set for those discussions to conclude - and for a final decision to be made.
"The CMA has now opened a consultation, until 6 October, on Microsoft’s proposed remedies."