Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition has been approved by EU regulators, putting it at odds with UK officials who blocked the deal. The move revives the $69 billion deal that will bring together Microsoft, maker of the Xbox console, and the video game developer behind titles like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, and Candy Crush Saga.
The European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, sided with Microsoft after it agreed to give gamers and cloud gaming services access to Activision Blizzard games for 10 years. The commission said that this addressed competition concerns that it had initially raised about the acquisition.
The deal will allow Microsoft to leverage its Xbox platform and attract new players while also enabling the company to expand its presence in mobile, where the bulk of gaming takes place. “Mobile is the fastest-growing segment in gaming, and this transaction will empower us to deliver on our vision of empowering people to play the most immersive and connected games anywhere in the world,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick will continue to lead the company, and he and his team will report to Phil Spencer, chief of Microsoft gaming.
The approval comes just a month after the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority blocked the acquisition, saying it could harm competition in the nascent market for cloud gaming. The decision in Brussels may help Microsoft in its appeal of the CMA’s decision, though the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which has made blocking tech mergers a priority, still has the power to block the deal.