UK competition body blocks Microsoft Activision Blizzard deal

UK competition body blocks Microsoft Activision Blizzard deal

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has said it is blocking Microsoft's proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

In a statement on the organisation's website, it said that the reason for this intervention was due to Microsoft's existing cloud games dominance. The CMA says that Microsoft did not "effectively address" concerns about this sector.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has said that his company and Microsoft will be appealing the decision. Regardless of how that turns out, the matter will no doubt not be settled during 2023.

"We remain fully committed to this acquisition and will appeal. The CMA’s decision rejects a pragmatic path to address competition concerns and discourages technology innovation and investment in the United Kingdom," Microsoft vice chair and president Brad Smith said.

"We have already signed contracts to make Activision Blizzard’s popular games available on 150 million more devices, and we remain committed to reinforcing these agreements through regulatory remedies. We’re especially disappointed that after lengthy deliberations, this decision appears to reflect a flawed understanding of this market and the way the relevant cloud technology actually works."

Activision Blizzard's chief comms officer Lulu Cheng Meservey added on Twitter: "The CMA’s report today is a major setback for the UK’s ambitions to be a tech hub, and we will work with Microsoft to reverse it on appeal. This report is also a disservice to UK citizens, who face increasingly dire economic prospects, and we will need to reassess our growth strategy in the UK Global innovators large and small will take note that - despite all its rhetoric - the UK is closed for business."

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.