Today, a California judge denied the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s request for a preliminary injunction in its case to block Microsoft and Xbox from acquiring Activision Blizzard. Now, shortly after the ruling, Microsoft has announced it will pause its appeal efforts against the Competition and Markets Authority in the U.K. so that it and the CMA can negotiate.
Back in April, the UK regulatory body blocked Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard over cloud gaming concerns. With a July 18 deadline for the acquisition, Microsoft theoretically needs to either mark the U.K. out of its market as it relates to this purchase or negotiate a deal with the CMA to quell the regulator’s concerns. Microsoft was previously set to appear in court to appeal the CMA’s block on July 28. According to Microsoft vice chair and president Brad Smith, that won’t be happening now as the two parties will instead attempt to negotiate a deal that satisfies both.
“After today’s court decision in the U.S., our focus now turns back to the U.K. While we ultimately disagree with the CMA’s concerns, we are considering how the transaction might be modified in order to address those concerns in a way that is acceptable to the CMA. In order to prioritize work on these proposals, Microsoft and Activision have agreed with the CMA that a stay of the litigation in the UK would be in the public interest and the parties have made a joint submission to the Competition Appeal Tribunal to this effect.”
Our statement on the mutual request with the CMA for a pause of our appeal in the UK: pic.twitter.com/8Aky2IJjxS
— Brad Smith (@BradSmi) July 11, 2023
It’s important to note that the Competition Appeal Tribunal still needs to either approve or deny this request, as noted by The Verge, but the former seems incredibly likely. In a statement received by The Verge, the CMA said it is “ready to consider any proposals from Microsoft to restructure the transaction in a way that would address the concerns set our in our Final Report,” likely alluding to its concerns over cloud gaming (concerns that Microsoft disagrees with).
Game Informer has reached out to the CMA for a statement regarding Smith’s announcement and will update the story if a comment or statement is received.
What do you think this means for Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard? Let us know in the comments below!