Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Microsoft Looking for Solutions to Get UK Approval for $69 Billion Activision Blizzard Acquisition

The president of Microsoft said he was looking for solutions to try to get British approval for the software giant’s $69 billion (nearly Rs. 5,71,730 crore) acquisition of “Call of Duty” maker Activision Blizzard.

British competition authorities blocked the biggest-ever deal in gaming in April, in a shock decision which Microsoft has since appealed. President Brad Smith said he was hopeful the outcome could change.

“I’m in search of solutions,” Microsoft President Brad Smith told the techUK Tech Policy Leadership conference in London on Tuesday.

“If regulators have concerns we want to address them. If there are problems, we want to solve them. If the UK wants to impose regulatory requirements that go beyond those in the EU, we want to find ways to fulfill them.”

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He declined to comment on any meeting with the British government following the CMA’s veto on the deal which Smith had previously warned would shake confidence in the UK as a destination for tech businesses.

The EU’s competition authorities approved the deal in May after they accepted remedies put forward by Microsoft that were broadly comparable to those it proposed in the UK.

Microsoft has also appealed the US Federal Trade Commission’s action seeking to block the deal on the grounds that, the agency said, it would suppress competition.

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Last month, Microsoft challenged Britain’s decision to block its takeover of Activision Blizzard on the grounds of “fundamental errors” in the assessment of Microsoft’s cloud gaming services. The company confirmed it had filed an appeal against the ruling to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT).

It said the CMA’s conclusion that the deal would lead to a substantial lessening of competition in the United Kingdom’s cloud gaming market was wrong, according to the summary.

The tech giant also evaded a potential early legal obstacle in the takeover, when a US judge last month refused to allow gamers in a private suit to preliminarily block the acquisition. 

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© Thomson Reuters 2023 


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