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UK tribunal to allow Activision Blizzard support in Microsoft's CMA appeal

Activision Blizzard gets to tag in and help Microsoft get the UK's approval to continue their merger.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

June 9, 2023

2 Min Read
Logo for game publisher Activision Blizzard.

Activision Blizzard is joining Microsoft in its appeal against the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). Per Reuters, the Call of Duty publisher has been granted permission to add its own arguments to those previously made by its business partner-in-progress

In late May, the Xbox maker filed an appeal to the UK's Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) in the hopes that the CMA's block on the merger with Activision Blizzard would be reversed. Following the regulator's decision in late April, both companies made clear they weren't going to take it lying down. 

The two game studios will make their argument to CAT sometime in July. Last November, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said he expected the merger to wrap up by this month, which will mark the end of Microsoft's current fiscal year.

Activision Blizzard and Microsoft aren't giving up on the UK

As it stands, the CMA is one of the biggest road blocks both developers face before they can complete their $69 billion merger. Shortly after the block, the CMA escalated matters by putting an extra ban on the two companies that prevented them from making moves to acquire the other without the regulator's express permission. 

For Microsoft, it believed the CMA made various efforts, such as ignoring the deals it's struck related to cloud gaming, and was relying on "false evidence" to power its block. Corporate VP Rima Alaily said at the time that Microsoft was confident it could get the decision overturned through its appeal.

It was recently revealed that Activision Blizzard has been working with UK advisory firm Rodney Warshaw during this merger, which helps add some additional context as to why it's fighting so hard for approval this particular region.

There's likely to be a good amount of overlap in arguments from both Microsoft and Activision Blizzard. Whatever the latter developer hopes to add in order to win the CAT's favor, it would have to be substantial without feeling repetitive.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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