LONDON (AP) — British antitrust regulators on Friday extended their deadline to issue a final order blocking Microsoft’s $69 billion plan to buy video game maker Activision Blizzard, allowing them to consider the U.S. tech giant’s “detailed and complex submission” pleading its case.
The Competition and Markets Authority had rejected the deal — the biggest in tech history — over fears it would stifle competition for popular game titles like Call of Duty in the fast-growing cloud gaming market.
But the U.K. watchdog appears to have softened its position after a judge thwarted U.S. regulators’ efforts to block the deal.
The authority says it has pushed its original deadline back six weeks to Aug. 29 so it could go through Microsoft’s response, which details “material changes in circumstance and special reasons” why regulators shouldn’t issue an order to reject the deal.
The watchdog’s decision could be a good sign for Microsoft and Activision as they battle to close the agreement signed nearly 18 months ago.
Microsoft had appealed the U.K. rejection to a tribunal that was due to hear the case on July 28. But both sides said this week that they jointly asked to put that hearing on hold while Microsoft works on revamping the deal to appease regulators.
That announcement came right after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission lost its court attempt to stop the deal, handing Microsoft a big victory. The FTC has appealed.