Activision games “Call of Duty” are pictured in a store in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., January 18, 2022.
Carlo Allegri | Reuters
LONDON — The U.K. competition regulator on Friday said it is extending the deadline for its review of Microsoft‘s takeover of video game publisher of Activision Blizzard by six weeks.
The extension will give the watchdog more time to review proposals by the two parties to resolve its concerns after it paused a campaign to block the deal.
“The Inquiry Group has decided to extend by six weeks … as it considers that there are special reasons to do so. The revised period will therefore end on 29 August 2023,” the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority said Friday.
The British regulator has been a stalwart opponent of Microsoft’s $69-billion purchase of Activision Blizzard, inclusively blocking the deal in April over competition concerns in the nascent cloud gaming market.
The CMA appeared to soften its tone earlier in the week, signaling it was ready to resume discussions with the Redmond tech titan.
“We stand ready to consider any proposals from Microsoft to restructure the transaction in a way that would address the concerns set out in our Final Report,” a CMA spokesperson told CNBC via email on Tuesday.
The CMA’s concerns have centered on the likelihood of Microsoft making Activision games exclusive to its own platform, as the tech giant sets its sights on the budding cloud gaming market — a technology that will effectively allow users to stream games on remote servers, like Netflix watchers do with a movie.
Microsoft’s multiple concession offers to the CMA has so far yet to bear fruit. In February, the CMA countered with a notice of potential remedies, which included selling its unit associated with the staple game Call of Duty and divesting some of the Activision Blizzard business.
The deal has also met with opposition in the U.S., but appeared to gain traction stateside earlier this week after the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California pronounced in favor of the two companies. Since then, the U.S. Federal Trace Commission on Wednesday filed to appeal the decision to deny a request for a preliminary injunction, which would have prevented the transaction’s completion.