Activision Blizzard Gets Permission to Intervene in Microsoft’s Legal Battle Against UK Regulator


Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard has been given permission to intervene in Microsoft’s legal battle with Britain’s anti-trust regulator over its decision to block the $69 billion (nearly Rs. 5,71,730 crore) takeover.

Microsoft is appealing against the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) decision to veto the deal, which it did in April on the grounds it could hurt competition in the nascent cloud gaming market.

The shock decision jeopardises gaming’s biggest-ever deal and drew a furious response from the companies, which questioned whether Britain remained open to tech firms.

Activision has now been given permission to intervene in Microsoft’s appeal at the Competition Appeal Tribunal, which is expected to be heard next month. That means Activision will also be able to make their case to the tribunal.

At a preliminary hearing in May, Microsoft’s lawyers accused the CMA of being a global “outlier” for blocking the Activision takeover, which has been approved by regulators including the European Union’s competition authority.

The US Federal Trade Commission has also blocked the deal, a decision which is under appeal by Microsoft.

Microsoft’s president Brad Smith, who met Britain’s finance minister for talks on Tuesday, said earlier this week that the company wants to address regulators’ concerns about the Activision acquisition.

Earlier this month, the president of Microsoft said he was looking for solutions to try to get British approval for the software giant’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

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

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.

In May, Microsoft launched a challenge against 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.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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