Microsoft’s $68.7 billion Activision Blizzard acquisition faces UK antitrust probe

Image Credit: Microsoft

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority on Wednesday announced an antitrust investigation into Microsoft’s proposed $68.7 billion acquisition of Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard. 

In January, Microsoft announced its $69 billion bid to acquire Activision Blizzard, the biggest deal in the video game industry and Microsoft’s biggest acquisition ever. The deal, which is expected to close by mid-2023, now faces a formal investigation from the UK competition regulator. 

“The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is considering whether it is or may be the case that this transaction, if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 and, if so, whether the creation of that situation may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services,”  the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority said. 

Microsoft has previously said it expects antitrust officials to examine how the deal might affect competition in the video game industry and app stores.

“We expect and think it’s appropriate for regulators to take a close look at this acquisition,” Lisa Tanzi, corporate vice president & general counsel at Microsoft, said. “We have been clear about how we plan to run our gaming business and why we believe the deal will benefit gamers, developers, and the industry.”

“We’re committed to answering questions from regulators and ultimately believe a thorough review will help the deal close with broad confidence, and that it will be positive for competition,” Tanzi added. “We remain confident the deal will close in fiscal year 2023 as initially anticipated.”

Char Lina Khan told lawmakers in June that the Federal Trade Commission is also examining the deal. 

The CMA says the deadline for public comment on the matter is July 20. 

Written by Sophie Blake

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