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Microsoft’s $75 Billion Activision Blizzard Deal Gets EU Approval

EU decision comes after rejection from U.K. regulator threatened deal’s prospects

An EU antitrust regulator approved Microsoft’s $75 billion deal to buy gaming company Activision Blizzard on Monday, a win for the two companies after a U.K. regulator rejected the deal in April.

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The European Union’s antitrust watchdog approved Microsoft’s MSFT  planned $75 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard ATVI 1.45%increase; green up pointing triangle, giving the two companies a win after the deal hit a regulatory roadblock in the U.K.

The decision comes weeks after the U.K. regulator rejected the agreement, saying it would crimp competition in the country’s gaming market. Microsoft has said it would appeal that decision.

Monday’s approval in Brussels won’t have any direct legal bearing on that process, and antitrust lawyers say Microsoft faces long odds in overturning the British decision.

Still, the EU’s decision means Microsoft has cleared at least one of the three biggest regulatory hurdles that it had faced in pursuing the deal. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has sued Microsoft to block the deal and scheduled a hearing for the case in its administrative court for August.

For the companies, the EU approval could make it easier for Microsoft to present the U.K. decision as an outlier, including during a U.K. appeal process, some antitrust lawyers and analysts said. The deal faces daunting prospects of clearing such an appeal, since the process is focused narrowly on procedure.

Image: Microsoft