Microsoft and Activision Blizzard, according to reports from some people involved in the negotiations, they were due to meet with the UK’s antitrust watchdog this week.
The meeting was organized for discuss and elaborate proposals centered around the concerns that Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activison Blizzard has raised within the gaming industry. At the center, the possible obstacles to competition and the free market feared by Sony and by the antitrust bodies which have so far expressed themselves negatively on the matter.
The sources, who asked to remain anonymous given the sensitivity of the matter, report that Microsoft’s lawyers reportedly attended a private hearing in London with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Monday. Objective of the meeting: to discuss the provisional results elaborated by the regulatory authority and evaluate the feasibility of the solutions proposed by the latter.
The CMA on Feb. 8 said the merger between the two companies could lead to higher prices, less choice and less innovation for UK gamers. In this regard, the CMA has suggested some solutions, one of all, lo release from the Call of Duty deal, Activision’s flagship game. Otherwise, warned the CMA, the opinion expressed would have been negative. However, CMA has always kept saying that is willing to consider other proposals as well that they can safeguard the competition from having full access to the shooter title.
The London meetings reportedly came after some meetings that senior executives and lawyers from Microsoft and Activision Blizzard held behind closed doors in Brussels last week. In addition to the company representatives, the representatives of the regulatory bodies of the European Union were also heard. Microsoft President Brad Smith clarified the deal would not have been “feasible or realistic” without the inclusion of blockbuster title Call of Duty.
Microsoft has also proposed paying out of its own pocket for a third-party “monitor” to be able to carry out the necessary checks on the compliance of the agreement, without the CMA having to invest time and resources in making sure that the Redmond giant respects its promises . The UK regulator has left a door open regarding behavioral remedies in its interim assessment. The company has previously informed that it has a long history of delivering on promises it made to regulators.
At present, spokespersons for Microsoft and the CMA declined to comment on the above. Activision Blizzard in turn met the CMA on Wednesday to hear the proposals. Another hearing, this time with Sony, the main opponent of the agreement, will be held next week according to some sources.
Microsoft for its part, only last week announced that it had signed agreements with Nintendo and Nvidiato share Call of Duty with them, thus opening access to the title to at least 150 million new users, if the merger agreement between the two companies is approved.
However, in recent years, the competition authorities of the United States and the United Kingdom, they have tightened up on so-called behavioral remedies. In a statement this week, CMA Chief Executive Officer Sarah Cardell said that behavioral remedies are underdogs in an industry where technology and business models are constantly changing.
CMA to Release Final Decision on Microsoft and Activision Blizzard Merger on April 26, 2023while Microsoft and Activision will submit a revised proposal of the deal to the European Union this week, following closed-door hearings, with the commission extending the deadline for reviewing the deal to April 25, 2023.
And what do you think, do you believe that the merger between Microsoft and Activision will go through or will it be blocked? Let us know, as always, in the comments.