The watchdog found that without the merger Activision would be able to start providing games on cloud platforms in the future (UK blocks Microsoft)
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Britain said it would block Microsoft’s $69-billion acquisition of “Call of Duty” maker Activision Blizzard over its concerns it would harm competition in cloud gaming.
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The country’s antitrust regulator said Microsoft’s commitment to offer access to Activision’s multi-billion dollar “Call of Duty” franchise to leading cloud gaming platforms would not effectively remedy its concerns.
Microsoft said in a statement it remained fully committed to this acquisition and would appeal.
“We remain fully committed to this acquisition and will appeal,” Brad Smith, vice chair and president of Microsoft, said. “The CMA’s decision rejects a pragmatic path to address competition concerns and discourages technology innovation and investment in the UK.”
Activision’s shares were down more than 10% in US pre-market trade.
The surprise ruling comes after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last month dropped its concerns about the impact of the deal on the console market led by Sony’s market-leading PlayStation.
That left cloud streaming services as the remaining hurdle, which Microsoft sought to overcome by signing licensing deals with the owners of streaming platforms including Valve Corp, Nvidia NVDA.O and Boosteroid.
Microsoft had already offered Sony – a vocal opponent of the deal – a 10-year “Call of Duty” licence, in line with an agreement to bring the multi-billion dollar franchise to Nintendo’s Switch.
UK blocks Microsoft
Europe will decide on the deal by May 22. The United State’s Federal Trade Commission is also seeking to block it.
Does Activision work for Microsoft?
Announcement. On January 18, 2022, Microsoft announced its intent to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion in an all-cash deal, or approximately $95 per share. Activision Blizzard’s stock price jumped nearly 40% that day in pre-market trading.
Can the UK block the Microsoft Activision deal?
Microsoft/Activision Blizzard Deal Might Still Be Blocked by UK’s CMA Even if EU Approves It.
UK blocks Microsoft
What are the challenges Microsoft Activision deal harm to?
The UK’s competition regulator said the proposed deal, which would make Microsoft (MSFT) the world’s third-largest video game publisher, could hurt tens of millions of gamers in the country by leading to higher prices or fewer choices.