Microsoft’s $68.7 billion Activision Blizzard acquisition continues to be a heavily discussed topic, and the regulatory approval of the deal has been eagerly awaited. However, the CMA released its final decision on the merger today, dismissing Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
The regulator cited concerns related to the cloud gaming market. But Microsoft has also announced its intention to appeal the CMA’s recent decision.
An industry analyst now suggests that the merger may be delayed until 2024, based on the Competition Appeal Tribunal’s website, which indicates a target of nine months for straightforward cases.
Microsoft has said it will appeal the CMA decision
The Competition Appeal Tribunal site says straightforward cases are aimed to be dealt with within 9 months – if MS wins it gets returned to the CMA
Chances of this closing this year are now slim. That means we get the FTC case
— Piers Harding-Rolls (@PiersHR) April 26, 2023
If Microsoft’s appeal is successful, the case will return to the CMA. As a result, it seems unlikely that the merger will be completed this year.
The CMA’s final decision came as a surprise to many who had anticipated the deal’s approval, including Microsoft, which had hoped to finalize the acquisition by June 2023.
Microsoft’s disappointment with the decision was made worse by the fact that they had recently signed a 10-year cloud gaming commitment with EE, among others, aiming to address the regulator’s concerns over harm to cloud gaming market competition.
The Competition Appeal Tribunal also has a fast-track procedure for relatively straightforward cases. The fast-track procedure intends to make a decision efficiently, both in terms of cost and time.
Microsoft could apply for the fast-track procedure for this case, but that remains to be seen. At present, the merger is facing numerous complications, with both the FTC and Sony opposing the deal.
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