Microsoft could “withdraw” Activision from the UK to bypass the CMA’s ruling

by Danny Craig  ·  Updated 
Microsoft could “withdraw” Activision from the UK to bypass the CMA’s ruling

Following the rejection of Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard by the UK regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Microsoft may consider withdrawing the publisher's operations from the UK.

The details:

  • According to a new Bloomberg report, Microsoft President Brad Smith will meet with UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to discuss the CMA's decision to prevent the $69 billion deal from taking place in the country. Smith is in London for a "scheduled talk about the potential of AI and the need for thoughtful regulation of it," according to a Microsoft spokesperson, but will also hold private discussions, including "the proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard as we remain committed to finding creative and constructive ways to address remaining regulatory concerns.”
  • Hunt has previously criticized the CMA's decision, stating that the watchdog must "understand their wider responsibilities." According to sources, the two will discuss how Microsoft intends to respond to the ruling, including "extreme" options such as withdrawing the publisher's operations from the UK or completely ignoring the block and proceeding with the acquisition.
  • If Microsoft relocates Activision's operations, it does not necessarily mean that its titles and services will be unavailable in the UK, as it could provide its products through a European distributor. However, it may affect its employees in its UK office, including those in publishing and development.
  • So far, the acquisition has been approved in nearly 40 countries worldwide, including within the European Union, South Korea, and China, with the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) set to review Microsoft’s appeal against the CMA’s ruling, which was lodged last week.

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