Microsoft’s $68.7 Billion Activision Settlement Referred for In-Depth Analysis

Sept 1 (Reuters) – Britain’s competition watchdog said it will refer Microsoft Corp’s $68.7 billion purchase of “Call of Duty” maker Activision Blizzard Inc for in-depth scrutiny.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said the merger could substantially reduce competition in game consoles, multi-game subscription services and cloud gaming services.

“After our Phase 1 analysis, we are concerned that Microsoft may use its control over popular games like ‘Call of Duty’ and ‘World of Warcraft’ after the merger to harm competitors, including recent and future competitors in services. multi-game subscription and cloud gaming,” the CMA said.

Both Microsoft and Activision said they will continue to cooperate with the CMA.

“Sony, as an industry leader, says it’s concerned about ‘Call of Duty,’ but we’ve said we’re committed to making the same game available on the same day on both Xbox and PlayStation,” said the president and vice president. Microsoft’s Brad Smith said in an emailed statement.

Activision still expects the deal to close in Microsoft’s fiscal year to June 30, 2023, Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick said in a statement. Microsoft and Activision have until September 8 to respond to the CMA.

Microsoft had previously said a comprehensive review would increase confidence in closing a deal that would be positive for competition.

The company, which makes the Xbox video game console, announced the deal in January, saying gaming is “the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment.” The deal will add franchises such as “Overwatch,” “Candy Crush” and “World of Warcraft” to its games business and make it a more powerful competitor to Sony and Nintendo.

(Reporting by Radhika Anilkumar in Bengaluru and Paul Sandle in London; additional reporting by Sinchita Mitra; edited in Spanish by Manuel Farías)

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