The Competition and Markets authority in the UK is having a look at the proposed purchase of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft, which at $68.7 billion would be the biggest deal in the history of gaming.

If it goes through the acquisition would bring huge gaming franchises from the Activision, Blizzard and King studios including Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Call of Duty and Candy Crush, under Microsoft’s umbrella. The purchase is for $95.00 per share, in an all-cash transaction valued at $68.7 billion, inclusive of Activision Blizzard’s net cash, and is the largest deal the gaming sector has seen.

The CMA is classifying the move as a merger and is inviting comments from any interested party as part of its investigation. It says in a statement:


“The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is considering whether it is or may be the case that this transaction, if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 and, if so, whether the creation of that situation may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services.”

Activision Blizzard is itself already a conglomerate of the two titular companies and King, the mobile gaming giant behind Candy Crush – represents a huge amount of IP, development and publishing firepower.  As well as some potential fodder for whatever Microsoft ends up doing with the metaverse, an interesting upshot of the deal might be that it gives Microsoft Game Pass – its subscription based gaming platform which operates almost as a Netflix for games in that you can play them while you have an active account – a shot in the arm.


Games Pass is popular but the list of games isn’t exactly exhaustive, compared to something like Steam. But it could be a different story if it starts getting pumped up with a new influx of Activision Blizzard titles. Since Microsoft could at that point make these titles exclusive, it would seem this could be a likely flashpoint with regards to whether the whole deal is anti-competitive or not.


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