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Macquarie: See 'a path' ahead for Microsoft, Activision merger

Investing.com -- Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) mega acquisition of video game maker Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) is likely to close despite an objection from the U.K.'s competition watchdog, analysts at Macquarie predicted on Wednesday.

In a note to clients, the analysts said recent approvals from regulators in China and the European Union have helped to create "a path" for the $69 billion deal to be finalized. They added that they believe that U.S. trade officials will probably choose not to block the transaction.

"While the [Department of Justice] still has concerns, our view from analysis of past precedent and discussions with experts in the field is that ultimately the deal will not run into any serious roadblocks from the U.S.," the Macquarie analysts said. "Together with the U.S. and the EU, China’s addition to the approval camp strengthens Microsoft’s hand as it decides how to navigate next steps vis a vis the holdout of note, the U.K.’s [Competition and Markets Authority]."

Earlier this month, the CMA published an interim order restricting Microsoft and Activision from acquiring an interest in each other, citing concerns that the merger would limit choices for gamers as well as innovation.

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The Macquarie analysts argued that the CMA's decision now looks "out of consensus in nature," which would in effect reduce its impact on the ultimate outcome of the merger. They said the tie-up could still potentially be closed without a green light from the CMA if Microsoft agrees to offer Activision content in the U.K. on Xbox and PlayStation consoles only - and not on its Game Pass subscription service.

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