U.K. CMA eases stance on pending Microsoft-Activision merger
- CMA no longer dubs the deal a threat to competition in console market.
- Concerns it previously had over cloud-gaming are yet to be resolved.
- CMA's ongoing investigation is expected to complete by the end of April.
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Activision Blizzard Inc (NASDAQ: ATVI) ended more than 5.0% up on Friday after the Competition and Markets Authority of the United Kingdom eased its stance on the company’s pending merger with Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT).
Microsoft-Activision deal not a threat to console market
Citing new evidence, the regulator said it no longer sees the merger as a substantial threat to competition in the console market.
We have provisionally concluded that merger won’t result in substantial lessening of competition because cost of Microsoft withholding Call of Duty from PlayStation would outweigh any gains from taking such action.
The announcement painted somewhat of a rosy picture for the deal’s global prospects. CMA’s ongoing investigation is expected to complete by the end of next month.
In February, Microsoft won Nvidia’s approval for its pending acquisition of Activision Blizzard as Invezz reported HERE.
Concerns over cloud-gaming are still to be resolved
It’s also noteworthy that the regulator’s comments this morning were restricted to the console market only. Concerns it previously had over cloud-gaming are yet to be resolved. Still, a spokesperson for Activision Blizzard said in a statement:
CMA’s updated provisional findings show their deepened understanding of console gaming. We appreciate the CMA’s investment in an industry they helped pioneer, and that will continue to be vital for growth in the U.K.
Reacting to the development, Wedbush Securities’ analyst Nick McKay also said that he now expected the deal to win clearance from the European Union and the Federal Trade Commission as well.
Despite the increase today, Activision stock is still trading more than 10% below the price that Microsoft agreed to pay for its shares. Microsoft shares also ended in the green on Friday.
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