Microsoft Appeals Against UK Call To Block $69-Billion Activision Blizzard Acquisition: Report

A Microsoft spokesperson reportedly confirmed on Wednesday that the company has filed an appeal against Britain’s decision to block its proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the creator of “Call of Duty” games, as reported by Reuters. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which serves as the antitrust regulator in Britain, rejected the deal in April, citing concerns about potential negative effects on competition within the emerging cloud gaming market.

Microsoft met the deadline for filing the appeal with the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), the entity responsible for handling appeals against rulings made by the CMA. However, a representative from the CAT declined to provide any comments on the matter.

Robin Koch, the communications director at Microsoft, confirmed the submission of the appeal, but no further details were disclosed.

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The CMA’s decision to block the acquisition, which would have been the largest-ever deal in the gaming industry, drew strong reactions from both Microsoft and Activision Blizzard. Microsoft expressed disappointment and criticized the ruling for undermining confidence in the UK as a favourable destination for technology companies.

In contrast, the European Union’s competition authorities approved the deal earlier this month, after accepting remedies proposed by Microsoft that were deemed to be largely comparable to those presented in the UK. The decision was made following a thorough investigation that considered extensive feedback and information from competitors, customers, game developers, distributors, and cloud game streaming platforms within the EU.

During the preliminary investigation, it was determined that Microsoft’s acquisition could potentially harm competition in the distribution of console and PC video games, including multi-game subscription services and cloud game streaming services, as well as in the supply of PC operating systems. However, the in-depth market investigation revealed that Microsoft’s actions would not adversely affect rival consoles or multi-game subscription services.

Apart from the appeal in the UK, Microsoft has also contested the US Federal Trade Commission’s attempt to block the acquisition, with the agency claiming that the deal would stifle competition.

The CAT will assess the merits of the CMA’s decision as part of the appeal process. It is important to note that the appeal does not provide an opportunity for Microsoft to introduce new remedies or proposals.

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