UK Drops Another Bomb On Microsoft's Game-Changing $69B Activision Deal

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UK's watchdog Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced its final decision concerning Microsoft's attempt to acquire Activision-Blizzard-King late last month. That finding stated the deal had "significant shortcomings," as well as reduce innovation and alter the growing landscape of cloud gaming. Now, it is taking things a few steps further.

The latest announcement prohibits either company, as a larger entity or via one of its subsidiaries, from making any moves to acquire one another and adds that neither can "hold an option to acquire an option" that either could move on at a later date, even if the CMA ceases its order.

The regulating authority indicated its reasoning for its latest ruling stems from the "Reference," which is essentially the name of the investigation into the deal it has been doing. The new order took effect on May 5, 2023, and will end "once the Reference is finally determined."

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Part of the ruling read, "The CMA wishes to ensure that no action is taken pending final determination of the Reference which might prejudice the Reference or impede the taking of any action by the CMA under Part 3 of the Act which might be justified by the CMA’s decisions on the Reference."

After last month's ruling, Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith stated, "The CMA's decision rejects a pragmatic path to address competition concerns and discourages technology innovation and investment in the United Kingdom."

Both Activision and its CEO, Bobby Kotick, voiced opinions on the ruling, with Activision releasing the statement, "We will reassess our growth for the UK. Global innovators large and small will take note - that despite all its rhetoric - the UK is clearly closed for business."

CMA's new order comes just before the European Commission is believed to deliver its ruling on the deal, possibly as early as next Monday. Sources have indicated to Reuters that the EU plans on giving the deal its blessing, which could prove problematic to CMA's decision.