Activision Games may be withdrawn from the UK to counter acquisition rejection.
Highlights of the story
- Activision Games could be forced out of the UK market, says a new report from Bloomberg. Playing titles like Call of Duty can be very difficult.
- Regardless, third-party distributors can still bring games to the UK market if Microsoft takes such a drastic decision. The chances of such a possibility becoming a reality are slim.
- Microsoft president Brad Smith will hold a private meeting with Microsoft’s legal agents next week to discuss the controversial purchase and how to fight the CMA at the next hearing.
- Microsoft’s appeal against the CMA’s decision to block the Microsoft Activision merger will be heard in a new hearing next month.
A new one Report from Bloomberg have suggested that Activision Games could be withdrawn from the UK market in a drastic move. In other words, entries like Call of Duty and other IPs may be very difficult for gamers to obtain and play in the UK. Microsoft is considering the following possibility if the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) again rejects the merger between Microsoft and Activision.
According to the report, Microsoft President Brad Smith will have a private meeting with British Chancellor Jeremy Hunt. He will also sit down with Microsoft’s legal agents next week to discuss the controversial buyout and how to fight the CMA. The meeting will focus on a number of things, such as steps to take on the proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, if the next hearing between Microsoft and the CMA does not go smoothly.
Bloomberg has heard from people familiar with the discussions that an extreme move could be for Microsoft to pull Activision’s presence out of the UK entirely. It’s highly likely that things won’t come down to that level, but if the CMA refuses to accede to Microsoft’s demands at the next hearing, it’s certainly being discussed.
An extreme option could be to ignore the UK order and go ahead with the deal, or withdraw the activation from the UK market, one of the people said, citing earlier reports by regulatory news outfit Mlex. Confirming,” notes a new report from Bloomberg.
If such a scenario were to become a reality, Activision’s long roster of IPs would have to be purchased by third-party distributors if its services were to be relocated to another European country. Regardless, these will likely only be games published by Activision and not necessarily by Microsoft, but the exact details still need to be ironed out. Microsoft’s appeal against the CMA’s decision to block the deal from going through will be heard in court next month.
In the past, the CMA has rejected the Microsoft-Activation merger from being approved in the UK, with concerns over the cloud gaming market. However, the agreement appeared clear in other respects, as the CMA commented that it would not result in a substantial reduction in competition. Regardless, the UK watchdog has blocked acquisitions for up to ten years.
On the other hand, the European Commission recently approved the deal in the EU, allowing it to go ahead after some rigorous research by the watchdog. The CMA reacted to the European Commission’s decision and did not appreciate the approval. The European Commission analyzed cloud gaming’s concerns, but the conditional remedies from Microsoft were enough for the organization to approve the deal.
The European Commission also believes the deal could jump-start the cloud gaming market, calling it pro-competitive, Bloomberg reports. The EC has also argued in the past that the Microsoft-Activision merger represents a positive development in the market, with a different opinion from the CMA. About 40 different countries, including South Korea and China, have approved the massive $69 merger.
Overall, it remains to be seen how the next appeal against the CMA’s decision will go for the controversial and influential Microsoft Activision merger. The watchdog could reverse its initial decision, which would be a smooth-sailing plan for the deal, or reject it again. However, Microsoft likely plans to fight the rejection.
Related Reads: Steam Now shows 30-day low price history for games in some EU countries
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