Microsoft-Activision Blizzard Deal: U.K. Agency Signals Approval

Microsoft scored a major victory on Friday in its long-running effort to buy the video game company Activision Blizzard, as British authorities signaled they would approve the deal after the companies took action that “substantially addresses” remaining antitrust concerns.

Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority is the last major agency that must sign off before Microsoft can complete the $69 billion acquisition. The regulator initially tried to block the deal, saying it would undercut competition in the game industry, but reversed course after Microsoft agreed not to purchase a part of Activision’s business associated with so-called cloud gaming.

First announced in January 2022, the acquisition has been heavily scrutinized by antitrust officials around the world and held up as a test of whether regulators would approve a tech megamerger amid concerns about the industry’s power.

“The C.M.A. considers that the restructured deal makes important changes that substantially address the concerns it set out in relation to the original transaction earlier this year,” the agency said in a statement on Friday.

The regulators said they are now holding a “consultation” through Oct. 6 about the remedies Microsoft has proposed before making a final decision on whether to approve the deal.