The biggest acquisition in video game history appears to be coming to a close. After Microsoft offered to buy Activision Blizzard nearly two years ago—and faced a barrage of government hurdles along the way—the tech company is reportedly readying to close the sale.
Sources told The Verge that the $68.7 billion sale finally appears to be winding down, with Microsoft eyeing an October 13 closing date. This month marks 20 months since Microsoft first announced the intent to buy Activision Blizzard in February 2022. The outlet reports that the final loose end is approval from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, which gave its verbal approval of the sale last month. The CMA reportedly has a deadline that ends today to gather any opinions on the contrary of approving the sale, with a final, official decision set to be announced next week.
Microsoft did not immediately return Gizmodo’s request for comment.
Microsoft has experienced plenty of turbulence throughout its quest to acquire Activision Blizzard, a video game holding company whose titles include World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, and Diablo III. UK regulators initially blocked the acquisition last spring, with Microsoft scrambling to tweak the acquisition terms and submitting a “restructured transaction” in August. Under the revision, Microsoft will forfeit the purchase of cloud gaming rights held by Activision, which will instead be purchased by Ubisoft. Meanwhile, EU regulators gave the acquisition a stamp of approval with little friction.
Across the pond, things have been chaotic. The FTC was previously scrutinizing the Microsoft/Activision merger over antitrust concerns. The commission pointed to Microsoft’s previous acquisition of ZeniMax Media—the parent company of game studio Bethesda Softworks—in 2021 for $7.5 billion, which saw Bethesda set several high-profile game titles, including Starfield and Redfall, as Xbox exclusives. The FTC originally sued to block the sale of Activision over the summer. As the bureaucracy raged on, a watchdog group known as The Revolving Door Project demanded that the judge responsible for determining the outcome of the sale recuse herself after it was discovered that her son worked for Microsoft. Nevertheless, the deal ultimately closed in the U.S. despite the FTC’s concerns.