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Microsoft and the UK CMA will now enter talks over Activision Blizzard purchase

The Microsoft and Activision Blizzard logos

Just a few minutes after Microsoft won its court battle with the US Federal Trade Commission over the company's plan to buy Activision Blizzard for $69 billion, Microsoft has now agreed to enter talks with the UK Competition and Markets Authority to resolve the issues with the one remaining country that, until now, has been opposed to this deal.

In a statement on Twitter, Microsoft president Brad Smith said:

After today’s court decision in the U.S., our focus now turns back to the UK. While we ultimately disagree with the CMA’s concerns, we are considering how the transaction might be modified in order to address those concerns in a way that is acceptable to the CMA

In order to prioritize work on these proposals, Microsoft and Activision have agreed with the CMA that a stay of the litigation in the UK would be in the public interest and the parties have made a joint submission to the Competition Appeal Tribunal to this effect.

The Verge has confirmed with the UK CMA that it is "ready to consider any proposals from Microsoft to restructure the transaction in a way that would address the concerns set out in our Final Report.” That report, which was issued in late April, blocked the deal because the CMA felt it would give Microsoft a way to make Activision Blizzard's popular games like Call of Duty an exclusive on its cloud gaming services, The regulator stated that could "risk undermining the innovation that is crucial to the development of these opportunities."

Microsoft announced a number of deals with various cloud gaming services worldwide that would commit the company to add its games, including Activision Blizzard's titles, to those services for at least 10 years. The European Commission allowed the deal to move forward in late May in part because of those cloud gaming agreements.

Technically, the UK's Competition Appeal Tribunal must approve this postponement of the appeals hearing, but it does seem likely that it will grant this request from Microsoft and the CMA. The question now is if these talks result in a mutual agreement or if this fight will ultimately be decided in the UK legal system.

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