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Microsoft wins UK approval of Activision Blizzard acquisition, deal now set to close

Over a year and a half on from Microsoft's announcement of its $69 billion deal to acquire Activision Blizzard, the company has cleared the final regulatory hurdle. The UK's Competition & Markets Authority has now approved the deal and Microsoft is set to complete the transaction. 

While the CMA had initially opted to block the acquisition, Microsoft revised the deal, selling off the cloud rights to Activision Blizzard games to Ubisoft. The CMA viewed this new deal structure as materially different and reassessed the acquisition over the last couple of months, ultimately deciding to approve the deal.

While the EU Commission had said it would be keeping a close eye on developments in the UK to assess whether or not they need to revisit the deal themselves, the commission has since decided not to re-open an investigation as the remedies proposed to the EU are still intact.

Now with the UK's approval, Microsoft can finally complete the transaction and officially take control of Activision Blizzard King. While the deal hasn't closed yet, Microsoft is expected to start the process today.

The Federal Trade Commission in the US is still attempting to fight the deal but after losing a previous court case against Microsoft, the FTC does not have the power to block the deal from going through. However, the FTC can sue to split up the companies after the fact – something that the FTC is likely to go through with. In the meantime, ABK will operate as a Microsoft-owned company.

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KitGuru Says: After roughly 20 months, this whole saga is finally coming to an end. Now, Microsoft can focus its efforts on bringing new games over to Game Pass and setting up a more active release schedule to cut down on gaps between major game releases. Perhaps Phil Spencer's goal of a first-party release each quarter is now in reach. 

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