Microsoft’s amended Activision Blizzard deal appears to avoid EU probe, expected to complete next week

In a nutshell: It seems Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard is getting closer to completion every passing day. The deal had faced another European Union probe after the Redmond firm changed the terms of the deal to appease UK regulators, but reports claim this isn’t going to happen.

It’s been almost two years since Microsoft first announced its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard. The company has faced plenty of obstacles in that time, the biggest being the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which blocked the deal in April over concerns it could alter the fledgling cloud gaming industry.

Microsoft’s solution was to restructure the transaction to include the transfer of cloud streaming rights for all current and new Activision Blizzard PC and console games released over the next 15 years to Ubisoft.

Changing the deal’s terms helped gain the provisional approval of the CMA, but as the acquisition had been altered, the European Commission, which had cleared the takeover earlier this year, warned that it might need to conduct another review. That would have delayed things even further, likely beyond Microsoft’s current deadline of October 18.

Now, Bloomberg, citing anonymous sources, reports that the changes Microsoft made don’t have to go through another EU approval process. A spokesperson of the commission repeated the previous statement that developments in the UK were being assessed along with their potential impact.

With no new EU probe to seemingly worry about, and the CMA expected to give its formal approval for the deal to be completed next week, it looks like Microsoft will meet its deadline. But there’s still the FTC, which said it would be resuming its in-house trial against the takeover after pausing the process over the summer.

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The good news for Microsoft is that although the FTC can technically continue to challenge the deal after it closes, it’s unlikely to prevent the acquisition from going through by next Wednesday.

Activision Blizzard certainly seems confident that the deal will be finalized soon. The company recently confirmed that it will begin adding games, including Modern Warfare III and Diablo IV, to Game Pass sometime next year – assuming all goes to plan.