Microsoft and Activision deal blocked for 10 years, says UK regulator
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The Microsoft and Activision Blizzard deal could be blocked for a further 10 years, says the UK regulator.
Last week, the video game community was getting ready for Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard to be finalised. The deal, worth a reported $68.7 billion, began proceedings back in January 2022 and it’s fair to say that there've been a few bumps in the road. However, the latest bump could end up being the most damning yet.
Microsoft want to get their hands on the Call of Duty franchise.
In what can be considered to be quite surprising news, seemingly at the very last hurdle, the UK market regulator blocked Microsoft’s takeover of Activision. Concerns were shared in regard to Microsoft owning too much of a monopoly in the video game industry by owning the Call of Duty publisher as well as its influence on cloud gaming technology.
Naturally, both Microsoft and Activision will be hard at work to appeal the decision in an attempt to finally push the deal through. There’s every chance that the appeal would prove successful. Unfortunately, if the appeal is declined, it could mean that Microsoft’s next attempt to acquire Activision Blizzard could be pushed back for a further 10 years.
As reported by Push Square, an official 900+ page document has been shared on ResetEra that reveals the news that Microsoft and Activision will dread. On page 339, under article 11.29 it reads: “Prohibition would be affected by accepting undertakings under section 82 of the Act or making an order under section 84 of the Act, prohibiting the Merger and preventing the Parties from attempting to merge for a further period: our normal practice would be to prevent a future merger between the Parties for the next ten years, absent a change of circumstances.”
With that all being said, as damning as that paragraph may appear to be, there is at least a glimmer of hope for Microsoft and Activision. In particular, it’s the words that read “our normal practice”. We have no doubts that lawyers will be looking to exploit any legal loophole to ensure that the appeal isn't declined. What’s more, the words “our normal practice” certainly do not sound definitive and look to be open to interpretation.
We’ll keep you posted as and when we hear of any further developments on this story.