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UK Competition Regulator Drops Key Concern On Microsoft Takeover

 |  March 26, 2023

Microsoft was granted a major victory on Friday after the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority declined to impose sanctions on the company concerning its acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

The ruling marks a partial win for Microsoft, as it pursues an expansion of its video game business. The Redmond, Washington-based technology giant has deepened its focus on gaming through blockbuster acquisitions, such as its purchase of ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks.

The CMA reviewed the proposed takeover in February and released its provisional findings. They indicated that if it went ahead, there could be increased prices for customers, fewer choices and decreased innovation.

Read more: Gamer’s Suit Against Microsoft’s $69 Billion Activision Deal Is Dismissed

Among its concerns, the regulator flagged that the deal would cause a substantial lessening of competition in the console gaming market.

Since the announcement of the deal, the regulator has received extensive comments from different parties in the industry. The feedback received has been substantial. With this new evidence, the CMA now says it no longer believes the transaction will hamper competition in console games.

“Having considered the additional evidence provided, we have now provisionally concluded that the merger will not result in a substantial lessening of competition in console gaming services because the cost to Microsoft of withholding Call of Duty from PlayStation would outweigh any gains from taking such action,” Martin Coleman, chair of the independent panel of experts conducting the CMA investigation, said in a statement Friday.

“Our provisional view that this deal raises concerns in the cloud gaming market is not affected by today’s announcement. Our investigation remains on course for completion by the end of April.”