CMA Publishes Microsoft Arguments In Activision Case

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UK Competiiton and Markets Authority publishes Microsoft arguments in reconsideration of Activision-Blizzard deal, calls for public comment

Microsoft has submitted new documents to the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) arguing its deal to buy Activision Blizzard for $69 billion (£54bn) should be reconsidered by the regulator in light of changed circumstances.

Meanwhile the regulator called for public responses around whether the deal should be allowed to go ahead, as it prepares to deliver a new decision by 29 August.

The CMA initially blocked the deal in April but Microsoft argues the decision should be revisited given its legally binding commitments to the European Union and a licensing deal with Sony.

The US firm said agreements with competitors Nvidia, Boosteroid and Ubitus to licence Activision games for a decade after the merger have already improved competition in cloud gaming.

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‘Very rare’

It said any breach of the EU commitments would invalidate European approval and would open it to fines of up to 10 percent of its worldwide turnover, or $19.8bn based on its 2022 revenues.

Microsoft said a licensing deal with Sony agreed after the CMA’s decision “addresses the primary concern of the most outspoken opponent of the merger”.

The company said evidence that emerged in the US Federal Trade Commission’s struggling attempts to block the deal boosted Microsoft’s case on the definition of the cloud gaming market.

“Submissions of this nature are possible but are very rare,” the CMA said in a statement.

Microsoft Activision Image credit CMA
Image credit: CMA

Public comment

“We will consider Microsoft’s submissions carefully, along with other responses from interested parties, ahead of the 29 August statutory deadline.”

The CMA called for public comments to be submitted by 4 August.

The companies have extended their date of completion to 18 October.

Microsoft’s appeal to the Competition Appeal Tribunal was put on hold last month to allow the CMA to consider Microsoft’s new arguments.