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UK regulator investigating Microsoft-Activision Blizzard acquisition

Competition and Markets Authority sets September 1 deadline to determine if deal might be anti-competitive

The Competition and Markets Authority is officially investigating Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the UK regulator confirmed today.

"As with all merger reviews, this investigation will consider whether the deal could harm competition and lead to worse outcomes for consumers -- for example, through higher prices, lower quality, or reduced choice," the CMA said, adding that it is accepting third-party opinions on the deal through July 20.

The CMA has until September 1 to complete the first phase of the investigation, in which it determines whether the deal could hurt competition.

If the CMA decides the deal is anti-competitive, then it would conduct a more in-depth assessment and allow the companies to propose actions that would address the concerns with the deal.

The regulator acknowledged that some of its counterparts around the world are also looking into the deal, and it will communicate with them "as appropriate."

The acquisition was announced in January, with Microsoft agreeing to pay almost $69 billion for the publisher behind Call of Duty and World of Warcraft.

Microsoft expects the deal to close in its fiscal 2023, which began last week.

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Brendan Sinclair

Managing Editor

Brendan joined GamesIndustry International in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at CBS-owned GameSpot in the US.

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