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Microsoft could face a "new merger investigation" from UK regulators

No deal to maybe-deal

Overwatch 2's key art featuring Tracer and Mei in heroic poses
Image credit: Activision Blizzard

The UK’s Competition And Markets Authority (CMA) have said that Microsoft could face a “new merger investigation” over the company’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Just yesterday, Microsoft and the CMA released a joint statement to say they’ve paused their legal feud to negotiate, which means Microsoft will need to somewhat restructure the deal and the CMA will then examine it again.

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The UK regulator previously objected to the acquisition and cited the potential anti-competitive side effects on the cloud gaming market. At the time, the CMA said the deal could lead to “reduced innovation and less choice for UK gamers” and that Microsoft “failed to effectively address the concerns.”

In a statement to Eurogamer, the CMA have now said that neither Microsoft nor Activision Blizzard can propose “new remedies once the final report has been issued.” What they can do is restructure and modify the deal to appease the CMA, but that “can lead to a new merger investigation,” and the CMA could find the deal to be anti-competitive once again. While the CMA’s initial decision “still stands,” the regulator is open to another investigation.

The news comes after Microsoft’s important court victory yesterday, where the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) failed to block the acquisition, although Bloomberg reports that the FTC is “leaning toward” an appeal of the decision. That might drag things out further. Other regulatory bodies in the EU, China, and Japan have approved the buyout, so Microsoft doesn’t have many more steps before they own Activision Blizzard and the treasure trove of games that come with it, for better or for worse.

Activision Blizzard are currently the subject of a number of legal actions, labour disputes and allegations of workplace harassment. Rock Paper Shotgun will continue to write about these issues, as well as covering Activision Blizzard games as part of our commitment to cover subjects of interest to our readers. The latest news can always be found under our Activision Blizzard tag.

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