Microsoft closed its $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard on Friday after clearing a series of regulatory hurdles since the deal was first announced in January 2022.
The acquisition will give the software giant some of the most-played gaming franchises in history on console, PC and mobile platforms including Pitfall, Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush.
“Today is a good day to play,” Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s head of gaming, said in a blog post on Friday.
“We will also continue to make more games available in more places – and that begins now by enabling cloud streaming providers and players to stream Activision Blizzard games in the European Economic Area,” he added.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, Microsoft said unvested Activision Blizzard options and stock-based awards have been assumed by Microsoft and converted into corresponding awards that are subject to shares of the software company’s common stock.
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In August, Microsoft restructured its purchase plan of Activision to satisfy regulators with the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority after the two companies extended their merger deadline to Oct. 18.
“We are restructuring the transaction to acquire a narrower set of rights,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said at the time. “Under the restructured transaction, Microsoft will not be in a position either 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.”
The Call of Duty and Candy Crush maker also agreed to sell its streaming rights in August to Ubisoft Entertainment for Activision’s existing PC and console games and any new games released by Activision in the next 15 years.
The Ubisoft deal will apply globally but not in Europe, where Brussels already accepted the original deal. In Europe, Ubisoft will get a non-exclusive license for Activision’s rights to enable it to offer those games in that region.
“As cloud gaming grows, this intervention will ensure people get more competitive prices, better services and more choice,” Sarah Cardell, chief executive of the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority, said in a Friday statement. “We are the only competition agency globally to have delivered this outcome.”
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) remains opposed to the deal but has failed in its attempts to stop it.
With the FTC maintaining its position to block the merger, Microsoft has said it will not stop it from closing the deal, according to Reuters.