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posted by janrinok on Friday April 28 2023, @11:09AM   Printer-friendly

UK government blocks Microsoft's proposed Activision purchase

https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2023/04/uk-government-blocks-microsofts-proposed-activision-purchase/

In its long-awaited final report, the United Kingdom's Competition and Markets Authority said that Microsoft's proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision would "result in a substantial lessening of competition" (SLC) in the supply of cloud-gaming services in the UK. As such, the regulator said that "the only effective remedy to this SLC and its adverse consequences is to prohibit the Merger."

The final report cites Microsoft's "strong position" in the cloud-gaming sector, where the company has an estimated 60 to 70 percent market share that makes it "already much stronger than its rivals." After purchasing Activision, the CMA says Microsoft "would find it commercially beneficial to make Activision's titles exclusive to its own cloud gaming service."

Microsoft has in recent months signed deals with Nvidia and smaller cloud-gaming providers in an attempt to "mak[e] even more clear to regulators that our acquisition of Activision Blizzard will make Call of Duty available on far more devices than before," as Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith said in a statement last month. But the CMA said these kinds of cloud-gaming deals—which Microsoft submitted to the CMA as a proposed remedy for any anticompetitive effects of the merger—were "limited to cloud gaming providers with specific business models" and thus not sufficient to address the regulator's concerns.

Previously:
Microsoft and Activision Will Miss Their Contractual Merger Deadline 20230115
FTC Moves to Block Microsoft's Activision Acquisition 20221209
The Biggest Deal in Gaming is Under Fire From U.S. Senators 20220403
Microsoft Set to Purchase Activision Blizzard in $68.7 Billion Deal 20220118

Related:
Microsoft's Latest Tactics Show that Gabe Newell of Valve was Right to Worry 20160306

Furious Microsoft Boss Says Confidence in UK 'Severely Shaken'

Furious Microsoft boss says confidence in UK 'severely shaken':

Microsoft's president has attacked the UK after it was blocked from buying US gaming firm Activision, saying the EU was a better place to start a business.

The move was "bad for Britain" and marked Microsoft's "darkest day" in its four decades of working in the country, Brad Smith told the BBC.

The regulator hit back saying it had to do what's best for people, "not merging firms with commercial interests".

The UK's move means the multi-billion dollar deal cannot go ahead globally.

Although US and EU regulators have yet to decide on whether to approve the deal, the UK regulator the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said: "Activision is intertwined through different markets - it can't be separated for the UK. So this decision blocks the deal from happening globally."

If it had been approved, the $68.7bn (£55bn) deal would have been the gaming industry's biggest ever takeover, and would have seen Microsoft get hold of massively popular games titles such as Call of Duty, Candy Crush and World of Warcraft.


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 29 2023, @10:36AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 29 2023, @10:36AM (#1303875)

    No,
    The UK competition people have seen the size of the brown envelopes the US competition people got, and want parity...

    The bulging brown envelope magic pass, is an accepted (but not condoned) fact in the UK way of doing business at certain levels...just ask anyone over here about planning departments - they're the most notorious UK example of local governmental lovers of the things - it's amazing how 'suddenly' business planning applications which have been knocked back several times are approved after a 'special' meeting of the planning committee.

    Mind you, as Microsoft have a far too cozy and long established relationship with UKGov, this might just all be a bit of arranged easy theatre '...look, see, our regulamatatorz does haz teethz'n'clawz'n'fingz...'

    If so, then I fully expect this decision to be overturned after 'assurances are given about any concerns raised' (or some other such BS) plus a few extra UKGov contracts for MS cloud shitwankery as reward for providing UKGov with yet another badly needed bit of deadcatting theatre to show that they're competently in charge...aye, right...

    .