Microsoft's New Bid for Activision Blizzard: A Global Tug-of-War

Microsoft's recent bid to acquire Activision Blizzard is making headlines once more

by Faruk Imamovic
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Microsoft's New Bid for Activision Blizzard: A Global Tug-of-War

Microsoft's recent bid to acquire Activision Blizzard is making headlines once more, as it submits a new proposal after the initial $69 billion (£59 billion) offer was shot down by the UK competition regulator.

A Renewed Approach

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has once again found itself in the limelight.

Microsoft's UK head, Brad Smith, commented on the recent bid, stating it was "substantially different" from their earlier offer, and he remains optimistic about its approval. Yet, the CMA cautioned, "This is not a green light." The regulatory body has set 18 October as the deadline to deliver a verdict on the deal.

A rejection from the UK would have global implications, halting the deal's progress universally.

Global Stakes and Reactions

While the US Federal Trade Commission has persistently attempted to obstruct the deal, their efforts have repeatedly been negated by court rulings.

On a brighter note for Microsoft, both the European Union and China have expressed their consent for the merger. However, the waters remain tumultuous. Earlier in April, the UK hinted at blocking the transaction, citing concerns over the repercussions for innovation and choice within the rapidly expanding cloud gaming domain.

This stand ignited an outcry from Activision, with Microsoft's UK president, Brad Smith, lamenting the decision as the "darkest day" in the company's 40-year history in the UK. Furthermore, competing giants, including Sony, have voiced their reservations.

The underlying fear? That post-acquisition, Microsoft might monopolize major games, excluding competitors like PlayStation.

Scrutinizing the Revamped Deal

Sarah Cardell, the Chief Executive of the CMA, acknowledged the distinctiveness of the restructured proposal.

Expressing the authority's stance, she mentioned, "We will carefully and objectively assess the details of the restructured deal and its impact on competition, including in light of third-party comments." Reiterating the CMA's unaltered objective, Cardell emphasized, "Our goal has not changed - any future decision on this new deal will ensure that the growing cloud gaming market continues to benefit from open and effective competition driving innovation and choice."

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