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Microsoft’s Smith Meets UK Finance Minister Over Merger Block

 |  June 6, 2023

On Tuesday, the president of Microsoft met with the finance minister of Britain to discuss the company’s plan to seek UK approval for its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the maker of “Call of Duty”. The president expressed his willingness to collaborate with regulators to achieve this goal.

The takeover was blocked by British competition authorities in April, which has raised concerns for the gaming industry’s biggest-ever deal. The decision was met by a strong reaction from the two groups who questioned the country’s openness to tech firms.

Microsoft has appealed and their president, Brad Smith, had a meeting with British finance minister Jeremy Hunt in London on Tuesday. The government source did not provide any further details.

During the techUK Tech Policy Leadership conference, Smith expressed his optimism about the potential for a positive outcome in London and stated that he is actively seeking solutions.

Read more: Microsoft Calls UK Watchdog An ‘Outlier’ For Blocking Activision Tie-Up

We are willing to address any concerns or problems raised by regulators. If the UK imposes regulatory requirements exceeding those of the EU, we aim to fulfill them.

Reports indicate that Smith had plans to meet with officials from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) while in London this week.

He expressed a positive opinion about the United Kingdom as a desirable location for living, learning, and building.

Smith expressed concern about the impact of the CMA veto on the perception of the UK as a tech destination and its potential consequences.

The Activision deal was approved by the EU in May, following Microsoft’s proposal of remedies that were similar to those proposed in the UK.