Microsoft has successfully completed its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the renowned developer behind popular video game franchises like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. This monumental deal, valued at $69 billion, signifies Microsoft’s largest-ever acquisition in its history, surpassing the $26 billion purchase of LinkedIn in 2016 and the $7.5 billion acquisition of Bethesda in 2021. Notably, this acquisition also represents Microsoft’s most significant foray into the gaming industry.
Initial Opposition by the CMA
The United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) initially sought to block the acquisition in April due to concerns that Microsoft, as the creator of the Xbox gaming console, would wield excessive influence in the emerging cloud gaming market. This opposition raised concerns about potential anti-competitive effects in the industry.
Revised Deal and Resolution
In a noteworthy turn of events, the CMA later indicated a shift in its stance. The regulatory body declared that a revised agreement, which involved Microsoft’s commitment to divest cloud gaming rights outside of Europe to Activision’s French competitor, Ubisoft, effectively alleviated the competition concerns it had previously raised. Consequently, the CMA gave its approval for the merger to proceed.
Significance of the Acquisition
This acquisition positions Microsoft as a formidable player in the gaming sector, allowing it to emerge as the third-largest gaming company by revenue globally, trailing only Tencent and Sony. Microsoft’s strategic move signifies a substantial expansion of its presence in the gaming industry, further solidifying its commitment to the world of interactive entertainment.