We are now less than a month away from the deadline that the UK Competition and Markets Authority regulator set up to make a decision about whether or not to approve Microsoft's new plan to buy Activision Blizzard for $69 billion. Today, a new report claims we won't have to wait very long for a preliminary decision.
The Verge reports, via unnamed sources, that the UK CMA is expected to offer its preliminary decision sometime next week. The story did not offer any information on if the CMA could approve the deal or reject it. The final deadline for the decision has been set for October 18.
The CMA previously blocked another version of the deal in April, claiming that Microsoft could use Activision Blizzard's games to boost its cloud gaming efforts. The regulator claimed that "would damage competition in the Cloud Gaming market."
Microsoft appealed the decision, but before the trial officially began, the two parties decided to mutually pause that appeal process. Microsoft then submitted a new acquisition plan to the CMA in August, stating that if the deal goes through, all current and future Activision Blizzard games would be available to access in the cloud by another game publisher, Ubisoft, for the next 15 years.
At the time, the CMA stated we should not assume this new deal will get approval from the regulator, stating:
We will carefully and objectively assess the details of the restructured deal and its impact on competition, including in light of third-party comments. Our goal has not changed – any future decision on this new deal will ensure that the growing cloud gaming market continues to benefit from open and effective competition driving innovation and choice.
Microsoft has received approval to buy Activision Blizzard from nearly every other government regulator. The US Federal Trade Commission tried to get a federal judge to put a preliminary injunction on Microsoft to block the deal, but the judge and the appeals court ruled in Microsoft's favor.