Microsoft-Activision Blizzard deal is under UK regulator investigation

Microsoft Activision deal

The CMA is looking into whether this deal is anti-competitive

The Competition and Markets Authority is looking into Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The UK regulator is officially looking into whether the deal could be anti-competitive.

September 1 is the deadline for the first phase of the investigation. In this phase, the CMA will determine whether Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal could harm competition, and if it should launch an in-depth investigation. It’s also inviting comments on the transaction from any interested party.

“As with all merger reviews, this investigation will consider whether the deal could harm competition and lead to worse outcomes for consumers—for example, through higher prices, lower quality, or reduced choice,” the CMA said (via GamesIndustry.biz).

Microsoft corporate VP and general counsel Lisa Tanzi said (via CNBC) that regulatory scrutiny of the deal was to be expected. Microsoft will “fully cooperate” with the CMA.

“We’re committed to answering questions from regulators and ultimately believe a thorough review will help the deal close with broad confidence, and that it will be positive for competition,” said Tanzi. She also added that Microsoft remains “confident” the deal will close in fiscal year 2023.

A massive merger

The scrutiny isn’t a surprise, especially with a deal as big as Microsoft acquiring Activision Blizzard. The CMA in the UK is not the only one looking into it, either. The FTC is also investigating the deal, as chair Lina Khan told lawmakers in June. The FTC’s investigation will look at, among other things, how the deal would impact workers at Activision Blizzard.

The $68.7 billion deal was announced in January, and made a lot of waves. With a portfolio of games including Call of DutyDiabloOverwatchWarcraft, and much more, it could be a huge deal for Microsoft once the ink dries.

Eric Van Allen