Activision acquisition, Microsoft and UK antitrust towards agreement

The new contractual structure includes an agreement for the transfer of cloud gaming rights to Ubisoft

Microsoft has made changes in its bid to gain approval from the UK Competition Authority for its acquisition of video game company Activision Blizzard. Recently, the British antitrust had blocked the commercial operation between the two companies. In a statement, the UK Competition Authority said that while it still had some concerns, the new contractual framework, which includes an agreement to transfer cloud gaming rights to Ubisoft, substantially addressed the issues raised initially. The regulator added that this new proposal “opens the door to approval of the deal”, with Microsoft’s proposed solutions to the remaining issues now subject to a consultation process.

The main hurdle still to overcome concerns the sale of streaming rights to Ubisoft, with concerns that the deal could be “circumvented, terminated or unenforced”. However, Microsoft has presented a solution to ensure that the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) can enforce the agreement. The CMA has “provisionally concluded” that this solution addresses the issue satisfactorily. In a social media posting following the CMA’s announcement, Microsoft Vice President and President Brad Smith said: “We are encouraged by this positive development in the CMA’s review process. We have presented solutions that we believe fully address the concerns remaining from the CMA regarding cloud game streaming, and we will continue to work towards approval.”