Microsoft Completes Takeover Of Activision Blizzard

FRIDAY, OCT 13, 2023 – 09:00 AM

Update (0900ET):

Microsoft’s long-awaited takeover of gaming firm Activision Blizzard is official. This comes hours after UK antitrust officials green-lighted the deal.

Activision announced in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission the deal was completed:

On October 13, 2023 (the “Closing Date”), Activision Blizzard, Inc., a Delaware corporation (the “Company”), completed the previously announced transaction with Microsoft Corporation, a Washington corporation (“Parent”), pursuant to the Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated as of January 18, 2022 (as amended, supplemented or otherwise modified from time to time, the “Merger Agreement”), by and among the Company, Parent and Anchorage Merger Sub Inc., a Delaware corporation and a wholly owned subsidiary of Parent (“Merger Sub”). Pursuant to the Merger Agreement, at the effective time of the Merger (the “Effective Time”), Merger Sub merged with and into the Company (the “Merger”), with the Company surviving the Merger as a wholly owned subsidiary of Parent.

Here’s more from the filing:

Microsoft’s $75 billion takeover of Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard has received the ‘green light’ from UK antitrust officials, removing the last hurdle to close the deal, which could be finalized in a few days.

The Competition and Markets Authority announced on X, “We’ve cleared the new deal for Microsoft to buy Activision without cloud gaming rights.”

“In August, Microsoft made a concession that would see Ubisoft, instead of Microsoft, buy Activision’s cloud gaming rights,” CMA said.

Microsoft first unveiled the deal in early 2022, but it was blocked in April by CMA, which, at the time, said the deal would give Microsoft a stranglehold over the cloud gaming market.

The concession was outlined in CMA’s press release, calling it a “game-changer” that will allow “competitive prices and better services.”

In August this year Microsoft made a concession that would see Ubisoft, instead of Microsoft, buy Activision’s cloud gaming rights. This new deal will put the cloud streaming rights (outside the EEA) for all of Activision’s PC and console content produced over the next 15 years in the hands of a strong and independent competitor with ambitious plans to offer new ways of accessing that content.

As a result of this concession, the CMA agreed to look afresh at the deal and launched a new investigation in August. That investigation has completed today with the CMA clearing this narrower transaction.

The new deal will stop Microsoft from locking up competition in cloud gaming as this market takes off, preserving competitive prices and services for UK cloud gaming customers. It will allow Ubisoft to offer Activision’s content under any business model, including through multigame subscription services. It will also help to ensure that cloud gaming providers will be able to use non-Windows operating systems for Activision content, reducing costs and increasing efficiency. -CMA

“With the sale of Activision’s cloud streaming rights to Ubisoft, we’ve made sure Microsoft can’t have a stranglehold over this important and rapidly developing market,” said CMA’s chief executive Sarah Cardell.

The UK regulator was the last major hurdle holding up the Activision takeover.

Microsoft President Brad Smith wrote on X that he is “grateful for the CMA’s thorough review and decision today.”

CNBC quoted Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, who told employees in an email that he is “excited for our next chapter together with Microsoft and the endless possibilities it creates for you and for our players.”

Smith added, “We have now crossed the final regulatory hurdle to close this acquisition.”

Vietnamese American Conservative Alliance (VACA)

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