Xbox boss Phil Spencer is 'confident' that the Activision Blizzard acquisition will go through

Phil Spencer and Todd Howard
(Image credit: Future)

Xbox's Phil Spencer is staying the course: Microsoft's long-delayed acquisition of Activision Blizzard will happen, he said on Sunday.

Spencer made the comment at an Xbox event called What's Next For Gaming today, where he emphasized that "Microsoft is very committed, we're very committed" to the acquisition. The current major hurdle for the acquisition is the United Kingdom's Competition and Market Authority, which has blocked the deal. Both Microsoft and Activision are appealing the authority's decision. The FTC in the US has also not yet approved the deal.

"We're out there to find solutions with the regulators that have questions, and that's what we're actively doing," said Spencer, following up that regulators had problems in many different areas, but that Microsoft had spent significant time on the deal. "We're trying to get to solutions. We did that with the European Commission. I'm confident we'll find solutions in the other areas as well. It's taking time, it's taking focus, but I'm confident."

It's a characteristically unruffled response from Spencer, who hasn't publicly wavered on his enthusiasm for the Microsoft-Activision acquisition since it was announced some 18 months ago, setting the gaming, finance, and media worlds abuzz with its record high numbers. If approved, Microsoft's deal to wholly acquire Activision-Blizzard would be by some metrics the largest acquisition of a media corporation in history—almost as much money as Disney paid to acquire 21st Century Fox, for example. It'll certainly be the largest gaming-related acquisition by an outrageous degree.

Phil Spencer is not the only person who thinks there's a chance. Just this week, a gaming industry analyst with prominent investment bank Jeffries noted that Microsoft does have a real chance of closing the acquisition deal. As reported by SeekingAlpha, Jefferies analyst Andrew Uerkwitz thinks there's a "more than zero" but "less than half" chance the acquisition gets approved. 

That assessment came after rumors said that it was possible Microsoft would simply pull Activision out of the UK market to circumvent the deal, letting a local partner take over publishing for Activision and Blizzard games there—an arrangement much like what Blizzard currently has in China. "We don't believe Microsoft should go this far or necessarily will go this far, but based on the commentary from Microsoft, it seems plausible," said Uerkwitz.

Of course, if Phil Spencer gets his way, that won't be needed at all. That's all part of the plan for him, with this year's Xbox showcase emphasizing that Microsoft is on track to become the PC game publishing giant it probably always should have been.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.