December 7, 2023

Microsoft is pulling out all of the stops and making a large concession in an effort to win UK approval of its Activision Blizzard acquisition.

In a weblog put up, Microsoft says it’s ready to promote the cloud gaming rights for Activision Blizzard video games to rival Ubisoft, in an effort to handle the Competitors and Market Authority’s considerations in regards to the cloud gaming market:

In January 2022, Microsoft introduced the proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Inc., to advance our objective to deliver extra inventive and progressive video games to gamers in all places and on any machine. Immediately, we’re taking one other essential step concerning this transaction. To handle the considerations in regards to the affect of the proposed acquisition on cloud recreation streaming raised by the UK Competitors and Markets Authority, we’re restructuring the transaction to accumulate a narrower set of rights. This contains executing an settlement efficient on the closing of our merger that transfers the cloud streaming rights for all present and new Activision Blizzard PC and console video games launched over the following 15 years to Ubisoft Leisure SA, a number one world recreation writer. The rights might be in perpetuity.

Microsoft makes clear its perception that this could tackle the CMA’s considerations fully:

On account of the settlement with Ubisoft, Microsoft believes its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard presents a considerably completely different transaction below UK regulation than the transaction Microsoft submitted for the CMA’s consideration in 2022. As such, Microsoft immediately has notified the restructured transaction to the CMA and anticipates that the CMA overview processes might be accomplished earlier than the 90-day extension in its acquisition settlement with Activision Blizzard expires on October 18.

Below the restructured transaction, Microsoft won’t be able both to launch Activision Blizzard video games completely by itself cloud streaming service – Xbox Cloud Gaming – or to completely management the licensing phrases of Activision Blizzard video games for rival providers.

The provide is a large concession on Microsoft’s half and reveals simply how far the corporate is keen to go to shut the deal.