Activision CEO says CMA decision will reduce competition, expected to be overturned on appeal


Microsoft and Activision Blizzard logos

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has said the company will appeal the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) decision to block its acquisition by Microsoft. In a recent interview with CNBC, Kotick said the company did not initially expect it would need to appeal but that it will. Unsurprisingly, he described the decision as flawed in every way and would lead to a “reduced competition”.

“It was so flawed in every way, that it would reduce competition, which is the opposite of their mission,” Kotick said mid-interview. “And so we think the appeals tribunal will look at it and rule in our favour.”

Asked if other companies had ever successfully appealed a CMA decision, he said it had. He said the regulator had to go back and accept the company’s treatment. Kotak said he expects the appeal process to be successful for the company, which would allow the acquisition to proceed.

If the appeal, which has not yet been filed, is to succeed, Activision will need to satisfy the regulator. The possibility of ending Call of Duty was raised in the interview, but Kotick pushed back on the idea, calling it impractical. He also pointed out that the CMA did not actually prescribe it as a remedy.

At the end of the interview, Kotick said the appeal briefing had not yet been filed. In the next week, he said, more details about the timing of the appeal process will be available. It may take several months until we get a decision either way. Microsoft has been making the media rounds with president Brad Smith calling the decision “bad for the UK”.


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