Microsoft has submitted a new deal to the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority regulatory agency that proposes Ubisoft get the rights to Activision Blizzard game streaming for 15 years.
After the CMA blocked Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard for a colossal $69 billion back in April over cloud gaming concerns, Microsoft set its sights on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for approval. In July, a California judge denied the FTC’s request for a preliminary injunction in its case to block Microsoft’s proposed acquisition. Shortly after that decision, Microsoft announced it was pausing its appeal efforts in the U.K. to negotiate with the CMA, and the CMA extended the company’s deadline to do so to August 29, 2023.
Today, the CMA confirmed it is blocking Microsoft’s original proposed deal. However, Microsoft also offered a new deal today following that block that would transfer streaming rights of Activision Blizzard games on PC and console to Assassin’s Creed maker Ubisoft for 15 years in perpetuity.
“As a result of the agreement with Ubisoft, Microsoft believes its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard presents a substantially different transaction under U.K. law than the transaction Microsoft submitted for the CMA’s consideration in 2022,” a Microsoft blog post reads. “As such, Microsoft today has notified the restructured transaction to the CMA and anticipates that the CMA review processes can be completed before the 90-day extension in its acquisition agreement with Activision Blizzard expires on October 18.”
Microsoft says under this restructured transaction, it will not be able to release Activision Blizzard games exclusively on its own cloud streaming service – Xbox Cloud Gaming – or to exclusively control the licensing terms of Activision Blizzard games for rival services. It says this deal will “enable Ubisoft to innovate and encourage different business models in the licensing and pricing of these games on cloud streaming services worldwide” and that Ubisoft will compensate Microsoft for the cloud streaming rights to Activision Blizzard’s games through a one-off payment and through a market-based wholesale pricing mechanism, “including an option that supports pricing based on usage.”
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