Now that Microsoft has won the US in the bid to buy Activision Blizzard, how will it win in the UK? – IGN

After Microsoft’s victory over the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in its battle to buy Activision Blizzard for $69 billion, thoughts now turn to the final obstacle: the UK.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) blocked the deal earlier this year. Microsoft appealed, with a hearing originally set to begin July 28. But last night, in response to Judge Corley’s ruling in favor of Xbox over the FTC, Microsoft, Activision, and the CMA agreed. intends to postpone the UK case, effectively suspending Microsoft’s appeal so that the three parties can reach a satisfactory transaction restructuring.

In a statement sent to IGN, Microsoft’s Brad Smith said Microsoft is currently «reviewing how the transaction could be modified» to address CMA’s concerns.

In response, the CMA told IGN: «We stand ready to consider any proposal from Microsoft to restructure the transaction in a way that would address the concerns outlined in our final report.»

The CMA is particularly interested in the impact of the acquisition on cloud gaming. In its ruling, the CMA said the deal «will change the future of the rapidly growing cloud gaming market, resulting in reduced innovation and fewer choices for UK gamers.» in the years to come”. Interestingly, cloud gaming is not a big part of the FTC’s case in the US. Instead, the FTC wants to focus on console gaming, Call of Duty exclusivity, and whether the Nintendo Switch competes in the same market as Xbox and PlayStation.

The phrase “proposal from Microsoft to restructure the transaction” seems to be the key to this deal, but what could it have to do with it? Microsoft’s previous attempt to appease the CMA for cloud gaming has been largely ignored, despite new agreements being reached with various cloud game providers such as Nvidia. IGN heard many last-ditch measures, including a pullout from the UK cloud gaming service, that Microsoft could take. If Microsoft does that, UK gamers could be blocked from playing titles like Call of Duty and Diablo 4 over the cloud – a move that is sure to trigger a backlash in the country.

Last night, CNBC’s David Faber reported that Microsoft had launched a «small, discreet divestment,» one that Microsoft believes will please the CMA. Faber speculated the divestment could be related to a cloud licensing deal, but neither Microsoft nor the CMA would comment on this.

Gareth Sutcliffe, senior game analyst at Enders Analysis, told IGN that any divestment «has the potential to save face, not impact», adding: «Long-term access contracts are a better solution and has been accepted elsewhere.

«The real question is how will the divestment benefit the UK market or consumers, especially if it involves cloud gaming? Should the CMA aim for a long-term commitment? from Activision and Microsoft to more systematically maintain and invest in the UK games industry. No other regulator has claimed or achieved that.»

A deal with the CMA could put Microsoft on the path to closing the deal as soon as Monday, July 17, just a day before the merger deal expires. If Microsoft doesn’t finalize the deal by July 18, it will have to pay Activision Blizzard a $3 billion reverse termination fee.

Louise Wooldridge, research director at Ampere Analysis, told IGN that’s unlikely. Wooldridge said that if Microsoft does not get CMA’s approval within the next week, Microsoft may renegotiate the deadline for completion with Activision. But «approval from the UK is on the horizon».

As Microsoft’s Brad Smith said last night: «Our focus is now back to the UK.» UK gamers will be anxiously awaiting the decision.

Wesley is the UK News Editor for IGN. Find him on Twitter at @wyp100. You can contact Wesley at or secretly at

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