By: Nick Gambino
Microsoft has been running a seemingly endless obstacle course in their bid to acquire Activision Blizzard and all of their games, most notable of which is Call of Duty. At $68.7 billion this would be the biggest purchase in video game history.
They’ve been chalking up win after win, making the acquisition an almost sure thing by this point. Last week a Califiornia judge ruled in favor of Microsoft when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) attempted to secure an injunction to stop the sale.
After that ruling came down, Sony, the biggest hold-out, signed a 10-year deal with Microsoft to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation.
In light of all this, the FTC has put their own in-house administrative challenge on hold for the foreseeable future. After the court win and Sony giving in, there wasn’t much to keep fighting against. The sale is almost certainly going to go through.
Despite win after win, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard announced this week that they are delaying the merger for another three months so they can get all of the details right. The new acquisition date is October 18.
Together with @Activision, we are announcing the extension of our merger agreement to 10/18 to provide ample time to work through the final regulatory issues. We will honor all commitments agreed upon with the EC and other regulators and continue to work with the CMA on the…
— Brad Smith (@BradSmi) July 19, 2023
The main reason for the delay is the ongoing battle with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK. That regulatory body has not backed down and is currently trying to stop the deal. Both companies want to make sure they square that away first before moving forward.
If the deal does not close by August 29, Microsoft will be on the hook for $3.5 billion, a break-up fee to be paid to Activision Blizzard. And if it extends to September 15 that could go up to $4.5 million. This is on top of the sale price mind you.
But that’s not where it ends. If it fails to close by October 18, they will have to pay the game studio 100% of game proceeds for Activision Blizzard games on their platform.
It feels like we’ve been reporting on this acquisition for the last five years. While it’s only been just over a year, the constant false endings make it feel a lot longer. Hopefully we’ll see it close in the next two months.