Microsoft is reportedly expecting the UK to oppose its Activision Blizzard deal
The EU issued its own antitrust warning this week
Microsoft is reportedly expecting the UK’s regulator to oppose its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, after the EU issued its own antirust warning this week.
That’s according to a report in the New York Times, which states that “Microsoft’s legal team also expects the antitrust authority in Britain to oppose the transaction”.
According to the report, Microsoft believes the European Commission is open to potential remedies, and the company is hoping to convince both the UK and the European Union to accept its concessions and approve the deal.
This, in turn, could make it easier to reach an agreement with the FTC before a scheduled trial later this year, it’s claimed. At the same time, it’s claimed that any of the three agencies could instead put pressure on the others to oppose the acquisition.
In December, the FTC announced plans to sue Microsoft in a bid to stop its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which the regulator argues would enable the company to “suppress competitors” to its Xbox console, subscription content and cloud gaming business.
According to one recent report, the motivation behind the FTC’s lawsuit was to attempt to dissuade EU regulators from accepting a settlement allowing the deal.
Among other concerns, the FTC and Sony have expressed worries that the deal could significantly reduce PlayStation’s ability to compete, given that it would see Microsoft gain ownership of the Call of Duty series, which Sony has called “irreplaceable”.
In their responses to the FTC’s complaint, Microsoft and Activision have argued that their merger would be procompetitive and benefit consumers by making the Call of Duty publisher’s games more broadly available.
In a bid to address regulatory concerns, Microsoft recently said it had offered Sony a 10-year, legally enforceable contract to make each new Call of Duty game available on PlayStation the same day it comes to Xbox.
The FTC said earlier this month that there had been no “substantive” settlement talks with Microsoft over the proposed acquisition. If it goes to trial, the case will be judged during hearings set to take place in August 2023.