An in-depth review is in store for Microsoft’s (Nasdaq: MSFT) US$69 billion acquisition deal to buy Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI) as anti-competition issues have been raised by a UK watchdog.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Thursday aired out its concerns that Microsoft’s Xbox might use the acquired Activision assets to gain an unfair competitive advantage on the game title releases over its competitors.
“We are concerned that Microsoft could use its control over popular games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft post-merger to harm rivals, including recent and future rivals in multi-game subscription services and cloud gaming,” said CMA senior director of mergers Sorcha O’Carroll.
The agency looks to probe the deal further unless Microsoft provides acceptable remedies to the competition concerns by September 8.
For its part, Microsoft said it is “ready to work with the CMA on next steps and address any of its concerns.”
“Sony, as the industry leader, says it is worried about Call of Duty, but we’ve said we are committed to making the same game available on the same day on both Xbox and PlayStation,” said Microsoft president Brad Smith.
The review adds to the strides made by the US Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission to look closer into mergers that are deemed anti-competitive.
It was back in January 2022 that Microsoft announced the plan to acquire Activision at US$95 per share.
Microsoft last traded at US$261.47 while Activision last traded at US$78.49 on the Nasdaq.
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