Last week, the UK Competition and Markets Authority announced it was starting an investigation of a new proposal by Microsoft to acquire Activision Blizzard. Today, in a new interview, Microsoft President Brad Smith seemed to indicate that the company had tried to do its best to come up with a solution that would get the CMA’s approval.
The CMA initially rejected Microsoft’s plan to buy Activison Blizzard back in April, claim that such a merger could give Microsoft too much of a competitive edge when it came to cloud gaming. Microsoft’s new proposed would give Ubisoft the game cloud streaming rights to all current and future Activision Blizzard games for 15 years.
In the interview at CNBC, Smith said of the CMA’s concerns about the previous deal:
We haven’t tried to dismiss them. We haven’t tried to downplay them. We haven’t tried to ignore them. We’ve worked to address them, and by addressing them, we have put together a transaction that will advance competition, while also eliminating the concerns on the anti-competitive side that some people had, I think it will be up to the regulators, especially now in the U.K., to decide whether that path is clear,
The interview with Smith suggests strongly that Microsoft really feels it has done all it can to address the issues the CMA had with the original deal with this new plan.
Most of the rest of the world has already approved Microsoft’s plan to buy Activision Blizzard for approximately $69 billion. The US Federal Trade Commission did try to use the legal system to stop the deal, but its attempt was struck down by the federal courts.
The UK CMA said it would complete its investigation and offer a decision on this new deal by October 18, which is also the self-imposed deadline by Microsoft and Activision Blizzard to close the deal.