Microsoft prepares to appeal against the CMA’s Activision Blizzard ruling

The UK group blocked the biggest acquisition in gaming history last month

Microsoft prepares to appeal against the CMA’s Activision Blizzard ruling

Microsoft’s ongoing attempts to acquire Activision Blizzard has been one of the biggest developing stories in the gaming industry of the past few years, and for good reason. At $67.8 billion, the deal would be the biggest in history should it be successful, and some of the biggest names in the mobile and console spheres have voiced their opposition, alongside regulatory bodies worldwide.

Last month saw the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) officially block the deal due to its concerns regarding how the deal would affect competitors in the cloud gaming market, with Microsoft signalling its intent to appeal the decision. Now, Yahoo Finance reports that the company is preparing to launch its appeal in earnest, hiring “leading competition barrister” Daniel Beard KC to lead the way as it lodges an “appeal at the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) in the coming days.”

Beard has previously worked with Microsoft in the late stages of Microsoft’s hearing with the CMA, and has previously overturned EU decisions regarding a 13 billion euro tax demand levied at Apple and a 1.1 billion euro fine handed to Intel regarding its dominance in the microchip space.

Should the appeal be successful, the regulator would be obligated to reconsider its original decision. However, the CAT could refuse the case, forcing Microsoft to take it to the Court of Appeal.

What next for the deal?

The European Commission is expected to make its own decision regarding the deal in the next few weeks, and Yahoo Finance notes that the group is predicted to approve the acquisition. This would likely come as a relief for Microsoft and Activision Blizzard, and signal a potential positive outcome for the deal.

Although it’s possible that the CMA will change its mind following the appeal, it’s likely to take several months before it makes a new decision, pushing the deal past the original July 18 deadline. Likewise, the USA’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has sued to block the acquisition, with the case’s conclusion scheduled for August.

Although the deadline is likely to be extended, an EU decision against the deal is likely to cause the companies a great deal of concern, as they would essentially be fighting for the deal’s future in three of the world’s foremost gaming markets. As such, either group may potentially opt to back out once the time comes to renegotiate the deal.

Both companies have signalled their continued commitment to the deal, with Activision CEO Bobby Kotick stating “We’re confident in our case because the facts are on our side: this deal is good for competition.”

We listed Activision Blizzard as one of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2022.

Staff Writer

Lewis Rees is a journalist, author, and escape room enthusiast based in South Wales. He got his degree in Film and Video from the University of Glamorgan. He's been a gamer all his life.