The software giant Microsoft has submitted a new proposal to Britain’s competition authority to acquire Activision Blizzard. This company created Call of Duty following the rejection of a previous version of the merger, authorities said on Tuesday.
To overtake Tencent of China and Sony of Japan as the third-largest revenue-generating gaming company in the world, Microsoft, the company that controls the Xbox, made a bid for Activision Blizzard at the beginning of last year.
Regulators, however, have carefully examined the $69 billion acquisition of the business that owns games like Candy Crush, World of Warcraft, and Call of Duty.
Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that it has “opened a new phase 1 investigation into a new, restructured deal by Microsoft to buy Activision”.
The new agreement, it was claimed, resulted from the regulator’s declaration that “the original agreement would be blocked to protect innovation and choice in cloud gaming.”
The revised proposed agreement states that “Microsoft will not acquire cloud rights for existing Activision PC and console games, or for new games released by Activision during the next 15 years (this excludes the European Economic Area),” according to the CMA.
Instead, the CMA states that these rights will be given to French game maker Ubisoft Entertainment before Microsoft buys Activision.
Ubisoft will have “the ability to supply Activision’s gaming content to all cloud gaming service providers (including Microsoft itself).”
According to CMA’s CEO, Sarah Cardell, “This will enable players to access Activision’s games in various ways, including through cloud-based multigame subscription services.”
Confidence Cardell added the phrase, “This is not a green light.”
“Our objective has not changed; any decision on this new agreement in the future will ensure that the expanding cloud gaming market continues to benefit from open and effective competition driving innovation and choice,” she said.
The revised review deadline is October 18.
The opening of a further inquiry “leaves the merging parties open to the prospect of another lengthy, drawn-out process to deal with the competition concerns raised,” according to Alex Haffner, competition partner at UK law firm Fladgate.
Haffner continued, “However, it is difficult to imagine Microsoft would have adopted this new approach without a great degree of confidence that it will now, in due course, (eventually) gain a regulatory green light from the CMA.
Activision and Microsoft have stated that they are still fully committed to the acquisition and have decided to give themselves until October 18 to complete it.
The US antitrust authorities delayed their attempt to prevent the takeover in late July following a legal setback. The European Union had approved the deal in May.
According to Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown, the divestiture to Ubisoft is intended “to stop Microsoft from making big hits like Call of Duty exclusive to its platforms.”
“Microsoft is eyeing the home stretch, but there is no guarantee another obstacle won’t be thrown in its path,” she continued. “Other barriers to the deal in the EU and the US have now been overcome.”