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Microsoft's $68.7 Billion Acquisition of Activision Blizzard Blocked by UK Competition Regulator

Microsoft's $68.7 Billion Acquisition of Activision Blizzard Blocked by UK Competition Regulator

On April 26, 2023, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) blocked Microsoft's $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The CMA found that the deal would substantially lessen competition in the cloud gaming market in the UK.
The CMA's decision is a major setback for Microsoft, which had hoped to use Activision Blizzard's popular gaming franchises to boost its cloud gaming service, Xbox Cloud Gaming. The CMA's decision is also a victory for Sony, Microsoft's main rival in the gaming industry. Sony has been concerned that Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard would give Microsoft too much power in the gaming industry.

The CMA's decision is likely to have a significant impact on the gaming industry. It is possible that other gaming companies will be hesitant to make large acquisitions in the future, for fear of running afoul of competition regulators. The CMA's decision is also a reminder that competition regulators are becoming more aggressive in scrutinizing large mergers and acquisitions.

Criticism of the CMA's Decision

The CMA's decision has been criticized by some in the gaming industry. They argue that the CMA's decision is based on a flawed understanding of the cloud gaming market. They argue that cloud gaming is still in its early stages of development, and that there is plenty of competition in the market. They also argue that Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard would not have a significant impact on competition in the cloud gaming market.

Despite the criticism, the CMA's decision is likely to stand. The CMA is an independent body, and its decisions are not subject to appeal. It is possible that Microsoft could try to renegotiate the terms of its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, but it is unlikely that the CMA would approve the deal in its current form.

The CMA's decision is a major setback for Microsoft, but it is also a victory for competition in the gaming industry. It is a reminder that competition regulators are becoming more aggressive in scrutinizing large mergers and acquisitions. This is a positive development for consumers, as it helps to ensure that they have a choice of products and services at competitive prices.
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