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Microsoft: CMA’s decision to block Activision deal shakes confidence in UK

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Yesterday, CMA (UK government’s Competition and Markets Authority) sent shockwaves among gaming industry by rejecting Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard. CMA mentioned that Microsoft’s proposed solution failed to effectively address the concerns in the cloud gaming sector which was outlined in its provisional findings. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) also mentioned that Activision is intertwined through different markets, so it can’t be separated for the UK. So, this decision blocks the deal from happening globally.

Microsoft offered the following statement regarding CMA’s rejection:

“WE REMAIN FULLY COMMITTED TO THIS ACQUISITION AND WILL APPEAL. THE CMA’S DECISION REJECTS A PRAGMATIC PATH TO ADDRESS COMPETITION CONCERNS AND DISCOURAGES TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION AND INVESTMENT IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.”

In an interview to BBC, Microsoft President Brad Smith heavily criticized CMA’s decision. Find the highlights of Brad Smith’s interview below:

  • The move was “bad for Britain” and marked Microsoft’s “darkest day” in its four decades of working in the country.
  • Microsoft was “very disappointed” with the CMA’s decision, “but more than that, unfortunately, I think it’s bad for Britain”.
  • It does more than shake our confidence in the future of the opportunity to grow a technology business in Britain than we’ve ever confronted before.
  • People are shocked, people are disappointed, and people’s confidence in technology in the UK has been severely shaken.
  • There’s a clear message here – the European Union is a more attractive place to start a business than the United Kingdom.
  • If the government of the United Kingdom wants to bring in investment, if it wants to create jobs (…) it needs to look hard at the role of the CMA, the regulatory structure in the United Kingdom, this transaction, and the message that the United Kingdom has just said to the world.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak office responded to Smith’s comments that his comments are “not borne out by the facts”.

“We continue to believe that the UK has an extremely attractive tech sector and a growing games market. We will continue to engage proactively with Microsoft and other companies.”

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