The Redmond-based tech giant is not ruling out the most extreme step just to close the $68.7 billion deal and own Activision Blizzard King.
The gaming industry’s future could be decided if consolidation takes a giant leap forward, with Microsoft bringing Activision Blizzard King into the Xbox Game Studios family after ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda. Microsoft may simply skip the UK, blocking its plans, as its competition and markets authority, the CMA, will not allow the deal. (The Redmond-based company has since appealed.)
Bloomberg reports that Microsoft chairman Brad Smith will meet with UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt next week to express his frustration with the CMA ruling. Microsoft has confirmed to Bloomberg that Smith will be in London, where he will give a “scheduled talk about the potential of AI and the need for thoughtful regulation of it.” He will also have private talks regarding other issues, “including the proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, as we remain committed to finding creative and constructive ways to address remaining regulatory concerns,” a company spokesperson said.
Hunt previously criticized the CMA’s veto at a business conference, saying that “competition watchdogs need to understand their wider responsibilities.” According to Bloomberg, British government ministers are unhappy with Smith’s criticism of the CMA. They are particularly bothered by the comment that he thinks they would be better off doing business in the EU than in the UK. Smith is reportedly going to discuss their backlash against the CMA’s decision with Microsoft’s legal representatives, and they are considering more extreme steps: either ignore the CMA’s decision to close the deal anyway or keep Activision’s games out of the country…
If they move Activision’s operations there to an EU country, for example, they can still sell, for example, the new Call of Duty through a distributor, so this could be a tricky move.