Microsoft’s lawyers have filed a new statement in the Northern District of California, and in doing so, gave us a better idea of when the potential merger with Activision Blizzard could close. According to the documents first shared by FOSS Patents, Microsoft has now committed to closing the merger by May 22 at the earliest. This is an extension on the previous date provided to the same court, which was initially May 1. This three week extension buys them more time to argue with the European Commission, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) of the UK, as well as the FTC in the US.
With this new information, we can begin to grasp a better view on the potential timeline of the Microsoft and Activision Blizzard merger. The earliest the deal could possibly close is May 22. The latest is July 18, “the drop-dead date in the merger agreement,” as Microsoft describes it. Both of these key dates can be seen for yourself on page 2 of Microsoft’s Joint Case Management Statement document.
That’s not to suggest this whole merger will be resolved cleanly though. If legislators in the UK, US or EU push back hard enough, the process is expected to be delayed even further. We can expect to hear more from the UK’s CMA later this month, as well as a final decision from the EC in April. The ball is then in the court of the FTC, the final boss standing to oppose Microsoft’s merger.
If the FTC keeps up their protests, a trial is expected to begin in August. Should the deadline need to be pushed, Microsoft will probably have to negotiate with Activision Blizzard for an extended drop-dead date. No matter what happens next, we’re getting closer and closer to a decision being made.
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