Microsoft’s Activision deal expected to be stalled by UK regulator
The UK's competition regulator will block the buyout, according to reports
Microsoft expects the UK’s antitrust regulator to oppose its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, throwing another spanner in the buyout.
According to the New York Times, Microsoft’s legal team believes the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority will resist the deal while the European Commission is open to potential remedies. These will likely take the form of Microsoft pledging to refrain from certain activities that could harm competition with its rivals.
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: Activision buyout
⛔ The UK’s markets regulator is expected to oppose Microsoft’s Activision deal
👩⚖️ It could launch a legal challenge in the next few months
🔨 The FTC has already sued to block the deal
🪨 Microsoft will likely propose concessions, but regulators may not budge
While the US’s FTC has already sued to block the deal, Microsoft is reportedly hoping to convince Britain and the European Union to accept its concessions and approve the acquisition. The company hopes this will encourage the FTC to follow suit and strike a compromise with Microsoft before a trial starts in the next few months.
The New York Times highlights that all three regulatory bodies have taken new steps to appear tough on big tech and mergers in the past few years. They may accept concessions from Microsoft to pass the deal, but equally may be inclined to put pressure on one another to oppose the deal in unison.
The EU is already expected to launch an antitrust challenge to the buyout, which will likely force Microsoft to propose a list of compromises and concessions to have it passed. While it’s already promised to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation and bring back Call of Duty to Nintendo platforms, regulators will likely be after more concrete pledges surrounding its expansion into the nascent cloud gaming market.
Other tech and gaming big dogs like Nvidia and Google have also voiced their concerns about the deal, while much of the UK public seems to back the buyout.
Microsoft’s response to critics over the last few months has swung from optimistic to strange. At times, it’s even tried to play dumb to push the deal through, claiming to know little about the Call of Duty franchise – the crown jewel of Activision Blizzard’s gaming portfolio – and its immense scale in the industry.
If Microsoft doesn’t resolve the FTC’s lawsuit through concessions, the case is scheduled to go to trial this August.
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