Home tech Microsoft and UK regulators buy more time to resolve Activision’s stalled $69 billion deal

Microsoft and UK regulators buy more time to resolve Activision’s stalled $69 billion deal

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LONDON (AP) — Microsoft and British regulators won more court time on Monday as the U.S. tech company uses a rare second chance to overcome opposition to its $69 billion bid for the video game company. Activision Blizzard.

Judge Marcus Smith conditionally granted a joint request by Microsoft and the Competition and Markets Authority to delay an appeal initiated by the company after the CMA initially denied the case. The regulator then reversed its final decision so it could consider Microsoft’s argument that new developments meant its massive purchase of games maker Call of Duty should proceed.

Also on Monday, a group of gamers who describe themselves as Activision fans made a last-ditch effort to block the deal in the United States, asking the Supreme Court to issue an emergency order that would prevent Microsoft from closing the deal. deal sooner than later. – deadline of Tuesday imposed.

The deal has already won approval from the European Union and a slew of countries, but it has already happened It has faced opposition from antitrust regulators in Britain and the United States .

The UK has blocked the deal, fearing it will stifle competition in the small, fast-growing cloud gaming market. It also faced strong resistance from rival Sony, making the PlayStation console a competitor to Microsoft’s Xbox gaming system.

But these positions seem to have weakened. Microsoft announced on Sunday that it has signed a 10-year agreement with Sony to keep the popular Call of Duty video game series on PlayStation if the merger proceeds.

Activision’s Call of Duty series of games have been a silver lining in a merger battle fueled by Sony fears of losing access to the title.

While trying to convince regulators around the world, Microsoft has signed temporary agreements to license Activision titles like Call of Duty to Nintendo and certain cloud gaming providers. Sony has resisted so far.

The British watchdog said last week it was giving itself an additional six weeks to review Microsoft’s submission outlining the new developments and “special reasons” for approving the deal.

Smith said his decision was conditional on the AMC providing written explanations to address some of the points he raised. He said it would also help if Microsoft provided a statement “explaining the importance of the agreement with Sony”.

The judge acknowledged the need to reach a quick decision before Tuesday, which is an important deadline for the agreement. Microsoft and Activision both agreed that either party could walk away from the planned merger if it doesn’t close by then, prompting Microsoft to pay a $3 billion severance fee. unless both parties decide to renegotiate.

“This is clearly an urgent matter that requires an immediate, albeit conditional, outcome,” Smith said.

Both parties had asked the Court of Appeals for a postponement shortly after the trial in the US FTC’s efforts were thwarted to halt the acquisition.

Smith said he wanted to make sure the FTC’s failure to block the deal played no part in the CMA’s reasoning for asking for a delay to give Microsoft another chance.

CMA attorney David Bailey said it was a “coincidence in time,” at least “as far as the CMA is concerned,” that the FTC lost its battle to block the deal in the United States. United. He said the AMC has focused on the public interest and that there is a realistic chance that a restructured deal could resolve its concerns.


AP Technology Writer Matt O’Brien in Providence, Rhode Island, contributed to this report.

Kelvin Chan, Associated Press

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