Microsoft is pointing to its recent Call of Duty deal with Sony in its attempt to get the UK to reconsider its original decision to block the merger
Jul 31, 20236:04 PM EDT
Microsoft has submitted a new change of circumstances document to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in an attempt to get approval for its pending acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
The CMA first blocked the merger in April, primarily over concerns regarding Microsoft’s growing presence in the nascent cloud gaming space. However, the CMA agreed earlier this month to negotiate with Microsoft after the company won a legal battle with the U.S.’ FTC. Following this, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard extended the merger deadline from July 18th to October 18th to allow for enough time to get approval in the UK.
As part of those efforts, Microsoft has made this new submission, which presents a variety of points to try to get the CMA to reconsider. In particular, Microsoft cites its 10-year Call of Duty deal with PlayStation, which was signed after months of bitter conflict between the two companies, as well as findings from the FTC case.
In that case, a California judge ruled that the FTC failed to make a case for how Microsoft’s ownership of Activision Blizzard could stifle competition. “Before the merger, there is no access to Activision’s content on cloud-streaming services. After the merger, several of Microsoft’s cloud-streaming competitors will — for the first time — have access to this content,” said U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley. “The merger will enhance, not lessen, competition in the cloud-streaming market”.
Additionally, Microsoft is preparing a final proposal that will more directly address some of the CMA’s concerns, including the company potentially selling off cloud gaming rights in the region. Microsoft’s full submission, which features many redactions, can be found here.
In the meantime, the CMA is looking for comments from Microsoft’s competitors by August 4th. The regulator will make a final decision on the acquisition by August 29th.