Microsoft seals Activision Blizzard deal after UK regulatory approval

After nearly two years of regulatory scrutiny, Microsoft, the maker of Xbox, has successfully completed its acquisition of Activision Blizzard for $69 billion. This move significantly bolsters Microsoft’s presence in the video gaming industry, granting them access to popular titles like “Call of Duty” to enhance their competition with industry leader Sony.

The news comes after the recent regulatory approval in the UK, which paved the way for Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision, Reuters reported. The approval came after Microsoft agreed to address competition concerns by selling the streaming rights to Activision’s games to Ubisoft Entertainment.

Previously, the deal had been blocked in April by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), citing concerns that it could grant Microsoft excessive control over the emerging cloud gaming market. However, the regulator revisited the case and gave its approval after Microsoft’s commitment to enforceable remedies, including the sale of streaming rights.

As you may recall, Microsoft bought video game giant Activision Blizzard in an all-cash deal valued at $68.7 billion. As part of the deal, Microsoft said at the time that Activision CEO Bobby Kotick would continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard. Once the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming. Kotick recently faced calls to resign over the cultural problems within his company.

Activision, which is known for popular games such as “Call of Duty” and “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater,” has been mired in controversy for the last several months following reports of sexual misconduct and harassment among the company’s executives. On Monday, Activision said it fired dozens of executives after an investigation.

Microsoft has gotten more aggressive with gaming over the past several years. It bought “Minecraft” maker Mojang for $2.5 billion in 2014. And last year, Microsoft completed a $7.5 billion acquisition of game maker Bethesda.

Mobile is the largest segment in gaming, with nearly 95% of all players globally enjoying games on mobile. Through great teams and great technology, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard will empower players to enjoy the most immersive franchises, like “Halo” and “Warcraft,” virtually anywhere they want. And with games like “Candy Crush,” Activision Blizzard´s mobile business represents a significant presence and opportunity for Microsoft in this fast-growing segment.

With Activision Blizzard’s nearly 400 million monthly active players in 190 countries and three billion-dollar franchises, this acquisition will make Game Pass one of the most compelling and diverse lineups of gaming content in the industry. Upon close, Microsoft will have 30 internal game development studios, along with additional publishing and esports production capabilities.

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