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UK minister defends CMA's decision to block MS/ABK

Business minister Kemi Badenoch disagrees with Microsoft president Brad Smith that the block is "bad for Britain"

UK business minister Kemi Badenoch has defended the Competition and Market Authority's decision to block the Microsoft-Activision deal.

As reported by Reuters, the UK government's Secretary of State for Business and Trade was questioned about Microsoft president Brad Smith's comment that the CMA block was "bad for Britain" and that the CMA has a "flawed understanding" of cloud streaming services.

Despite the deal having gone through in Europe, Badenoch noted that the agreement has yet to be approved in the United States (although Microsoft is able to complete the transaction following its legal battle with the Federal Trade Commission).

"We were not an outlier if you talk about the size of the market," Badenoch said. "At some point, we have to decide are we making [decisions] in a way that's right for us or just trying to do what everybody else is going? So no, I don't agree with his comment.

"If the CMA is doing something wrong, I think that will become evident through a pattern which is not yet the case."

Earlier this year, Smith criticised the CMA's decision to block the Microsoft-Activision acquisition during an appearance on BBC's Wake Up To Money.

"The strong message that the CMA has sent, is not just to surprise everyone who fully expected this acquisition to be approved, but to send a message that will discourage innovation and investment in the United Kingdom," he said.

"I think in that sense the impact of this decision is far broader than on Microsoft or the acquisition alone."

Smith argued that Microsoft has played a "vital role" in the UK for 40 years in "not just supporting businesses and non-profits but even defending the nation from cyber-security threats."

He concluded that the CMA's ruling was "probably the darkest day in our four decades in Britain. It does more than shake our confidence in the future of the opportunity to grow a technology business in Britain that we've ever confronted before."

You can follow the regulatory hurdles Microsoft and Activision face in our extensive primer.

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Sophie McEvoy avatar
Sophie McEvoy: Sophie McEvoy is a Staff Writer at She is based in Hampshire and has been a gaming & entertainment journalist since 2018.
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