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Microsoft and Activision Blizzard slam UK regulator for blocking $68.7 billion merger

Both companies said they intend to appeal the decision, while an Activision Blizzard spokesperson said the move indicates the UK is "closed for business."

Chris Kerr, News Editor

April 26, 2023

1 Min Read
A photograph of Activision Blizzard's HQ

Microsoft president Brad Smith says the company remains "fully committed"to its $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard after the deal was blocked by the UK's competition regulator.

Earlier today, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it had made the "final decision" to quash the merger over fears it will "alter the future of the fast-growing cloud gaming market" by undermining innovation and stifling competition.

In a statement shared on social media, Smith confirmed Microsoft will appeal the decision.

"We remain fully committed to this acquisition and will appeal. The CMA's decision rejects a pragmatic path to address competition concerns and discourages technology innovation and investment in the United Kingdom," Smith wrote.

"We have already signed contracts to make Activision Blizzard's popular games available on 150 million more devices, and we remain committed to reinforcing these agreements through regulatory remedies. We're especially disappointed that after lengthy deliberations, this decision appears to reflect a flawed understanding of this market and the way the relevant cloud technology actually works."

Activision Blizzard's response

Activision Blizzard also took issue with the decision, and in response said it will now be reassessing its growth plans for the UK and suggested the CMA has essentially signaled that the country is "closed for business."

"The CMA’s report contradicts the ambitions of the UK to become an attractive country to build technology businesses," said a company spokesperson in an email sent to Game Developer.

"We will work aggressively with Microsoft to reverse this on appeal. The report’s conclusions are a disservice to UK citizens, who face increasingly dire economic prospects. We will reassess our growth plans for the UK. Global innovators large and small will take note that–despite all its rhetoric–the UK is clearly closed for business."

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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