(Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp. is set for a second shot at winning UK approval for its $69 billion takeover of Activision Blizzard Inc., but regulators warned that any antitrust fixes would trigger a new probe, potentially further delaying the biggest gaming deal in history. 

The Competition and Markets Authority said that even if the companies assuage its concerns, the regulatory process would have to go back to square one. The Wednesday statement dampened hopes of a speedy approval after the CMA on Tuesday said it was willing to rethink its opposition to the deal. 

“We’re currently in a bit of a limbo stage,” Tom Smith, a former CMA official who now works at law firm Geradin Partners, told Bloomberg TV. “We’re in uncharted territory. There is wiggle room on what is being divested.”

The CMA had initially vetoed the deal in April, but said it’s prepared to evaluate new proposals from the companies after a US judge gave the merger the green light on Tuesday. 

“All they’ve done at this stage is they’ve agreed to talk,” Smith said. “It would have looked pretty bad if they’d have refused to talk to Microsoft.”

While the CMA stresses there will be delays, the new stance still gives the firms a chance to suggest potential fixes aimed at easing UK concerns.

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“Microsoft and Activision have indicated that they are considering how the transaction might be modified, and the CMA is prepared to engage with them on this basis,” the regulator said. “These discussions remain at an early stage and the nature and timing of next steps will be determined in due course.”

Microsoft was heading to a July 28 trial at the Competition Appeal Tribunal over the CMA’s decision to block the deal. 

On Tuesday Microsoft won approval from a US court to move forward with the deal in a blow to the US Federal Trade Commission, which was trying to block it.


(Updates with lawyer comment in third paragraph)

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