The UK competition and markets regulator has extended the deadline for submitting a possible new decision on Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard by six weeks.
In April, the CMA blocked the acquisition due to cloud gaming issues, which made Microsoft’s fight to get the green light on the acquisition even more difficult. But he then turned to the US Federal Trade Commission, intending to appeal the CMA’s decision in the meantime.
Earlier this week, California Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley denied the Federal Trade Commission’s request for a preliminary injunction in her case to stop Microsoft and Xbox from acquiring Activision Blizzard. Shortly after this decision, Microsoft announced that it had halted appeal efforts in the UK to negotiate with the CMA. The deadline for the CMA to hear and consider Microsoft’s new but currently unknown proposal for the regulator to backtrack and govern this UK acquisition was July 18. Date of 29 2023.
This is what CMA wrote in the Filing Extension file:
“The CMA considers that there is insufficient time remaining within the legal timeframe for a full and proper review of Microsoft’s submission on the proposed application. As such, the investigation team finds particular grounds for a six-week extension under section 41A(2) of the Code for the period of performance of its duties under section 41 (2) St. The revised period will therefore end on August 29, 2023. However, the investigation group aims to fulfill its functions as soon as possible and before this date.
This new story adds another wrinkle to Microsoft’s acquisition efforts. The deadline for the company to complete the deal is July 18. After the FTC’s ruling — its appeal was denied by Judge Corley, as expected, but no decision has been made by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit — Microsoft could theoretically shut down in time.
In fact, New York’s Nasdaq announced yesterday that it was pulling Activision Blizzard from the market before it opened on Monday, July 17, apparently referring to Microsoft entering into the deal before or shortly after that date (thanks, Tom Warren the edge). Everything indicates that Microsoft will close the deal before the July 18 deadline. However, that leaves the UK case if it ends on July 18 without an updated decision (presumably in favor of Microsoft) from the CMA, with Microsoft likely having to pull the UK out of the deal or presumably later, before August 29. Both parties will reach a satisfactory agreement. But the only time I will say it.
To catch up on everything that’s happened so far, first read Microsoft revealing it acquired Activision Blizzard for a whopping $69 billion and check out this story on how the CMA blocked that UK acquisition in due to cloud gaming issues. Then read how a California judge denied the FTC’s request for a preliminary warning this week, then read Microsoft’s new plans to negotiate something satisfying with the CMA.
Do you think Microsoft and CMA will reach a satisfactory agreement? Let us know in the comments below!