Microsoft and Activision Blizzard extend merger deadline to October

Microsoft needs more time to negotiate with the U.K. after it blocked the Activision Blizzard deal in April

Microsoft and Activision Blizzard have agreed to extend their merger deadline to October 18th. Microsoft CEO of Gaming Phil Spencer tweeted the news on July 19th.

When Microsoft first announced its intent to acquire the Call of Duty maker in January 2022, a July 18th, 2023 deadline had been set. However, the two companies needed additional time as they negotiate with the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to get approval for that region. The CMA blocked the acquisition in April over concerns surrounding Microsoft’s position in the burgeoning cloud gaming space.

Last week, Microsoft and the CMA agreed to renegotiate so the Xbox maker can better address the U.K.’s concerns. It’s unclear exactly what steps Microsoft may take to do that, but Bloomberg recently reported that the company may even sell off the rights to its cloud gaming tech in the U.K. to help get the deal approved.

In general, it’s been a particularly eventful month for Microsoft’s pending acquisition of Activision Blizzard. On July 11th, Microsoft won a major U.S. court case against the FTC, which had been trying to block the deal. This prompted Microsoft and the CMA to pause their own legal disputes to negotiate, and Sony to finally sign a 10-year Call of Duty licensing agreement should the Activision Blizzard deal be closed. PlayStation’s parent company had been actively trying to block the deal, arguing that Call of Duty is a major part of its ecosystem and so it would be anti-competitive for Microsoft to own it.

It remains to be seen what will come out of the U.K.’s discussions with Microsoft.

Source: @XboxP3