Competition regulator to resume talks with Microsoft over merger with Activision Blizzard | business news


The UK competition regulator is ready to resume talks with Microsoft after the company agreed to drop court proceedings over its proposed merger with Activision Blizzard.

The tech giant will seek to restructure the $69 billion (£56 billion) deal respond to the concerns of the Competition and Markets Authority after a breakthrough in the United States.

A US judge ruled on Tuesday that Microsoft could go ahead with it Acquisition of the video game manufacturer behind Call of Duty.

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The competition watchdog informed Sky News in April of the decision to block the deal between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard.

The American competition regulator, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), originally asked the judge to do so stop the proposed deal on the basis it would give Microsoft, the maker of the Xbox games console, exclusive access to Activision games before they are available on other platforms.

Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley denied the FTC’s offer because it failed to successfully demonstrate that the combined entity was likely to displace Call of Duty from Sony PlayStation or “significantly reduce competition” in the relevant gaming markets.

Judge Corley wrote in her ruling, delivered after a week-long hearing in San Francisco, “The FTC has not shown that it will succeed in its assertion that the combined company is likely to divest Call of Duty from Sony PlayStation or that it will is the case.” Owning Activision content will significantly reduce competition in the video game library subscription and cloud gaming markets.”

The decision removes a significant hurdle for the two companies battling with regulators in the US and UK.

In April, the UK regulator said it was concerned about stifling competition in the market, and Microsoft said it would appeal the decision.

The merger was approved by the European Union the following month.

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European regulators said they accept Microsoft’s pledges that the bid to acquire the developer would not hurt competition in the games sector.

After the merger was approved, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: “Video games attract billions of users around the world. In such a fast growing and dynamic industry, it is vital to protect competition and innovation.”

“Our decision represents an important step in that direction, bringing Activision’s popular games to many more devices and consumers than before, thanks to cloud game streaming,” she added.

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