Microsoft and Activision Blizzard push back merger deadline

Both companies will now have until October 2023 to finalise merger arrangements.
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Microsoft and Activision Blizzard have mutually agreed to push back the set deadline for their merger arrangements, following the expiration of initial terms. While the agreement was set to be voided on 18 July 2023, it will now conclude on 18 October 2023. It’s expected that final terms for the merger will be determined before this new cut-off date.

After a recent court win against the FTC, Microsoft is approaching the end of its legal battles, with only opposition from the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) presenting a major challenge to finalisation. Currently, Microsoft and the CMA are in formal negotiations to develop a path forward that will address concerns about a potential monopoly in the cloud streaming market – and this is likely to be resolved in the coming weeks.

While the CMA initially issued an outright block of Microsoft’s planned merger, the US District Court ruling that it was not in violation of United States anti-competition laws inspired a fresh approach, as Microsoft and the CMA initiated new talks.

Read: Microsoft and UK CMA extend Activision Blizzard merger negotiations

With these negotiations continuing beyond the former merger deadline, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard have now made allowances for the process to continue unabated.

‘Microsoft and Activision Blizzard have extended the merger agreement deadline to 10/18,’ Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming announced on Twitter. ‘We’re optimistic about getting this done, and excited about bringing more games to more players everywhere.’

Lulu Cheng Meservey, CCO and EVP of Corporate Affairs at Activision Blizzard, shared a similar sentiment. ‘The recent decision in the U.S. and approvals in 40 countries all validate that the deal is good for competition, players, and the future of gaming,’ Meservey tweeted. ‘Given global regulatory approvals and the companies’ confidence that CMA now recognises there are remedies available to meet their concerns in the UK, the Activision Blizzard and Microsoft boards of directors have authorized the companies not to terminate the deal until after October 18.’

‘We’re confident in our next steps and that our deal will quickly close.’

It’s expected the three-month delay to merger proceedings will allow for any final negotiations to be completed, as Microsoft and Activision Blizzard prepare for a combined future.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.