Microsoft Finally Completes Activision Blizzard Deal

Microsoft Finally Completes Activision Blizzard Deal

Microsoft finalized its purchase of Activision Blizzard Inc. for $US69 billion after it received approval from UK regulators on Friday. The Xbox maker’s acquisition of the gaming company known for its Call of Duty franchise marks the end of a nearly two-year fight with regulators who attempted to block the deal.

“Today is a good day to play as we welcome the legendary teams at Activision Blizzard to Team Xbox,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in an email to Gizmodo. Microsoft CEO Phil Spencer told the company bought Activision in an email to staff early Friday saying the company can “officially start the work of bringing more groundbreaking games to more players than ever before and across new platforms from mobile to cloud streaming.”

In the wake of one of the most expensive tech acquisitions, Spencer said Microsoft will begin making Activision, Blizzard and King’s games available in Xbox Game Pass and other platforms in the coming months.

“Brian and I couldn’t be more excited for the next chapter for ABK,” Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said in a separate email to staff. “We now join one of the most successful global companies, poised for unprecedented opportunities to connect the world through our games. As a part of Microsoft, we will be even better, together.”

Kotick agreed to stay on as CEO of Activision, while reporting to Spencer through the end of 2023 and said he is “fully committed to helping with the transition.”

Microsoft’s purchase comes after UK regulators blocked Microsoft’s attempted acquisition of Activision in April, citing concerns that it would make Microsoft the primary player in the cloud gaming market. The company agreed to make alterations to its merger in August, saying it would purchase the company but allow Ubisoft to buy Activision’s cloud gaming rights. The concession prompted the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to reassess its review of the merger which raised concerns that it would have resulted in higher gaming prices for consumers, offering fewer choices and innovations.

“Microsoft had the chance to restructure during our initial investigation but instead continued to insist on a package of measures that we told them simply wouldn’t work. Dragging out proceedings in this way only wastes time and money,” Sarah Cardell, Chief Executive of the CMA said in a UK government press release.

Although Microsoft shifted its agreement to exclude it from owning Activision’s cloud gaming rights, the Xbox maker still ranks as one of the top gaming companies, giving it a foothold to direct the future of gaming. Its purchase has tilted the “balance of power significantly,” George Jijiashvili, senior principal analyst at tech research and advisory firm Omdia told AP News. He added that Microsoft “now has a big opportunity to dictate the future of the games industry.”

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