Microsoft Reportedly Plans to Close Activision Blizzard Acquisition Next Week
Microsoft’s long-paved road of acquiring Activision Blizzard is reportedly coming to an end next week. It’s being reported that the Xbox parent company is looking to complete its proposed $68.7 billion USD (around $92.9 billion CAD) deal on Friday, October 13th.
The reported date, by way of The Verge, places the closure of the deal five short days before the October 18th deadline. If correct, Microsoft will take ownership of Activision Blizzard alongside its mega-successful franchises like Call of Duty, Candy Crush, Diablo, Overwatch, and more.
In September, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) provisionally approved the acquisition of Activision Blizzard after Microsoft submitted a new deal that included a stipulation that Microsoft would sell Activision cloud gaming rights to Ubisoft. It’s claimed that the final approval from the CMA will arrive next week, breaking down yet another barrier for Microsoft.
Earlier this year, Microsoft gained approval from the European Commission this year after investigations into antitrust matters were completed. Microsoft also won its case against the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the U.S. The FTC looked to block the deal as it believed it would give Microsoft an unfair advantage within the gaming space. However, the judge rejected the FTC’s claims.
While Microsoft did claim a victory over the FTC case, the commission has filed with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. However, a decision isn’t due to arrive until December, long after the deal closes. There is still a possibility that the FTC may take aim and look to undo the merger. While it has happened in the past, industry analysts believe the chances of success are low.
It’s still hard to say what the immediate ramifications are for the Xbox ecosystem when the deal closes. This year, Activision Blizzard is set to launch Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III. However, its current marketing rights are still in Sony’s hands until early-mid 2024. Therefore, don’t expect any sudden shift for the upcoming multiplayer game. That said, there may be some perks added to Xbox Game Pass, offering legacy Call of Duty or other Activision Blizzard games. Similarly, when Microsoft purchased ZeniMax Media, nearly 20 Bethesda games were added to Xbox Game Pass.