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Microsoft announces outright purchase of Activision Blizzard
Microsoft has made it official that it will buy Activision Blizzard and this time the $69 billion acquisition can really be considered official and final after the lawsuits between the Redmond giant and the British antitrust authority that blocked the deal last April. The aim of the agreement is to make competition fair in the cloud gaming arena by opening Activision's content to non-Windows systems, thus averting a Microsoft monopoly in the distribution of popular titles such as Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Call of Duty, Guitar Hero and Candy Crush.
Microsoft had announced its intention to buy Activision Blizzard for a record $68.7 billion as early as January 2022, to become the third largest gaming company in the world behind Tencent and Sony. However, the deal was obstructed by the US and UK antitrust authorities, who feared that Microsoft's position in the industry would alter the balance to the detriment of consumers. On 26 April the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) - the UK government department in charge of competition - had then officially blocked the deal, forcing Microsoft to compromise and speed up the timetable to avoid even the hefty USD 3 billion penalty in case the acquisition is not closed.
At this point, in order to get the green light from Cma, Microsoft agreed to transfer the rights of current and future games in the cloud and outside the European Economic Area into the hands of the French Ubisoft, for an undisclosed sum. In doing so, the possibility of licensing Activision Blizzard content also materialised to cloud gaming providers with non-Windows systemsensuring competition. "As one team we will learn, innovate and continue to deliver on our promise to bring the joy and community of gaming to more people', pronounced Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming.