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Microsoft and Activision Blizzard agree three-month extension for their proposed merger

The never-ending acquisition

Screenshot from call of duty Warzone 2 showing ghost holding a rifle while standing in a field of grass
Image credit: Activision

Microsoft and Activision Blizzard have extended the deadline for their $69 billion merger by three months “to work through the final regulatory issues,” according to Microsoft president Brad Smith. The two companies had failed to meet their previous self-imposed deadline of yesterday, July 18th, and Microsoft have now avoided paying a $3 billion fine by renegotiating a new deadline: October 18th.

Activision Blizzard’s CCO Lulu Cheng Meservey announced the three-month extension on Twitter. Meservey said that the board of directors from both companies approved the new deadline following global regulatory approvals and ongoing renegotiations with the UK’s Competitions And Markets Authority (CMA). Microsoft now needs to close the deal before October 18th or pay a termination fine that could cost billions.

Xbox boss Phil Spencer tweeted: “We’re optimistic about getting this done and excited about bringing more games to more players everywhere.”

Meanwhile, Smith shed more details about the postponed deadline and termination fees. The fine will increase to $3.5 billion after August 29th, and jump up to $4.5 billion after September 15th. Smith also added that they’ll “honor all commitments agreed upon with the [European Commission] and other regulators, and continue to work with the CMA on the issues raised in the UK.” In closing, he also said the company was “confident” about closing the buyout.

Renegotiating a deal for the CMA is one of Microsoft’s last regulatory hurdles before finishing the deal. The British regulator had previously blocked the deal due to concerns around the fledgling cloud gaming market, but after the US Federal Trade Commission lost their court battle with Microsoft last week, the deal seems more likely than ever to close, for better or for worse.

Activision Blizzard are currently the subject of a number of legal actions, labour disputes and allegations of workplace harassment. Rock Paper Shotgun will continue to write about these issues, as well as covering Activision Blizzard games as part of our commitment to cover subjects of interest to our readers. The latest news can always be found under our Activision Blizzard tag.

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