Microsoft’s acquisition deal for video game maker Activision to face in-depth antitrust probe in UK

Microsoft came under scrutiny after Financial Times on Wednesday (September 14) reported that the US-based tech company’s deal to buy videogame publisher Activision Blizzard is expected to face an in-depth probe in Brussels and the United Kingdom. 

Concerns were raised after reports emerged that Microsoft’s $75 billion acquisition of video game maker Activision Blizzard is apparently anti-competitive and will exclude rivals from accessing the popular game Call of Duty. Any remedies to assuage competition concerns were not provided by the software maker. 

Citing people with knowledge of this particular deal, FT reported that Microsoft has opted not to offer any remedies to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) because there were no obvious commitments the UK regulator would be likely to accept. 

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Earlier this month, the CMA said that the takeover of the “Call of Duty” maker could hurt competition in gaming consoles, subscription services and cloud gaming in case Microsoft denies giving competitors access to Activision’s best-selling games. 

The report mentioned that the UK’s CMA is expected to launch an in-depth investigation this week. 

As quoted by the report, a person in Brussels who is familiar with the transaction said, “It is a big deal, a difficult deal. It needs an extensive investigation.” 

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This comes after a recent accusation made by Sony. Last week Sony said Microsoft is misleading the games industry and regulators about its commitments to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation consoles. 

Sony had said that Microsoft only offered to keep releasing Activision’s hit game on PlayStation for a limited number of years. 

After the latest development, it is understood that the EU investigation could take time to examine the deal because of its size and the rising concerns from rivals. 


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