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UK Antitrust Won’t Bend To Global Regulators, Says Agency Head

 |  May 16, 2023

The UK competition watchdog announced its decision to block Microsoft Corp.’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, stating a commitment to prioritize UK interests on the global stage, as reported by Bloomberg.

During questioning by UK lawmakers, Sarah Cardell, CEO of the Competition and Markets Authority, was asked about the frequency of discussions with the US Federal Trade Commission and the perceived benefits of the CMA’s decision to block the deal.

“We are absolutely not doing the bidding of other agencies,” Cardell told a committee of politicians Tuesday. “Our responsibility at the end of the day is to look at the impact for the UK.”

“When we are looking at those deals of course we are highly mindful of fact that we want to ensure continuity and integrity of analysis,” Cardell said.

Related: EU Backs $69B Microsoft, Activision Blizzard Deal

The CMA responded to the European Commission’s approval of the Microsoft deal, stating that it would give Microsoft control over the terms and conditions of the cloud gaming market for the next decade.

The US has filed a lawsuit regarding a deal and a hearing is planned for August. Cardell informed the panel that further negotiations with other agencies were reliant upon waivers from the merging parties. During the final stages of the CMA’s investigation into Microsoft, they were limited in discussions due to a lack of waiver from the FTC.

The UK’s competition regulator has recently made several significant decisions involving major tech companies such as Microsoft and Meta Platforms Inc.’s Giphy deal, gaining attention in the global arena following Brexit.