Microsoft-Activision Merger Inquiry Deadline Pushed Back: CMA Further Delays Review

It’s been over a year since Microsoft revealed its plan to buy Activision Blizzard for a whopping $69 billion, but the transaction is still moving slowly through different foreign regulatory bodies. While regulators in Chile, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia have already given the go light, three key agencies — the United States’ Federal Trade Commission, the European Union’s European Commission, and the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority — are still going through the small print.

All three agencies have been conducting their own in-depth examinations into the purchase and the potential repercussions on the sector, and the CMA recently amended its own timeline to reflect the magnitude of the work involved. According to GamesIndustry.biz, the group had expected to provide a report on its findings in early March, but the deadline has now been pushed out to April 26. The publication of this report will signal the conclusion of the CMA’s second phase of inquiry, which followed an initial examination last summer.

According to the CMA’s amended timeline, much of December 2022 and early January 2023 would be spent on “primary party hearings” and examining the preliminary findings of the inquiry, with a final deadline for answers and submissions from the major parties in March 2023. The “statutory deadline to submit final report” is April 26, although the committee apparently intends to conclude and publish its findings before that date.

Even in nations where the transaction has passed muster with regulators, it has not been without incident for the parties involved. Following Brazil’s judgment, a slew of papers were made public, including Sony’s worries about the merger, the closely guarded income data for Xbox Game Pass, and more. Meanwhile, the FTC may file an antitrust case against the purchase in the United States.

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