Microsoft is holding talks to extend the contract to buy game developer Activision Blizzard, reported Reuters, citing sources.

The acquisition contract is set to expire on 18 July 2023 and the extension would allow the parties to secure the remaining regulatory clearance for the $69bn deal.

If the contract expires, it will not necessarily result in the deal’s collapse rather it would provide both companies with the option to walk away from it.

Microsoft has been pushing for the contract extension to prevent Activision from being courted by another buyer or changing its mind, the source said.

The source added that if a deal is not reached by the end of 18 July, the firms will discuss the extension further.

Requests for comment from Microsoft and Activision were not immediately answered.

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The extension would buy more time for Microsoft and Activision allowing them to find a regulatory solution in the UK, the only major country that is blocking this deal.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and Microsoft are currently exploring alternative solutions to allay their antitrust concerns.

Last week, Microsoft signed a deal with Sony for Activision’s Call of Duty series on Sony’s PlayStation gaming console, a rival to Microsoft’s Xbox.

However, the CMA believes that letting alternative cloud gaming platforms access Call of Duty would not sufficiently safeguard market competition.