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Game on for UK's deeper antitrust probe of Microsoft-Activision

·1-min read

The U.K.'s competition watchdog has confirmed it will move to an in-depth investigation of the Microsoft-Activision $68.7 billion gaming mega-deal, a couple of weeks after it signalled concerns about the proposed acquisition.

Earlier this month, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it was worried Microsoft could harm rivals in the gaming industry by restricting access to popular Activision titles.

It also expressed concerns about the impact on development of the more nascent cloud-gaming market.

"The CMA has referred the anticipated acquisition by Microsoft Corporation of Activision Blizzard, Inc. for an in-depth investigation, on the basis that, on the information currently available to it, it is or may be the case that this Merger may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within a market or markets in the United Kingdom," the regulator wrote in an update on the case today.

It also confirmed the (four) individuals appointed to the inquiry group. The so-called phase 2 CMA investigation will involve this independent panel examining concerns raised by the preliminary probe -- a detailed assessment that could take months or even over half a year.

Other regulators reviewing the Microsoft-Activision acquisition include the U.S.’ FTC.

Despite close regulatory attention to the proposed mega-deal, Activision suggested earlier this month that it still expects the acquisition to close in mid 2023. While Microsoft expressed willingness to work with regulators to allay their concerns.