ENTERTAINMENT ART

UK competition watchdog sets March 2023 deadline to judge Xbox’s Activision deal

The UK Competition Authority has set a deadline of 1 March 2023 to publish the results of its investigation into Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

In September, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said its investigation into the $68.7 billion merger had officially been expanded to a second stage due to a number of antitrust concerns.

Notably, the CMA is concerned about the impact of the deal on PlayStation’s competitiveness, given that the deal would see Microsoft take ownership of the Call of Duty series.

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The second phase of the CMA investigation saw the appointment of an independent panel to examine the deal in more detail and assess whether it is likely to significantly reduce competition.

If the investigation group finds that there has been an anti-competitive consequence, it must “decide whether action should be taken on its part or by others, to remedy, mitigate or prevent a substantial reduction in competition” and if so, what action should be taken.

Ultimately, the CMA has the power to prevent mergers and acquisitions from being completed if appropriate action is not taken to address reduced competition.

On Tuesday, the Capital Markets Authority published a timetable Confirmation of how to proceed with the second phase of the investigation of the Microsoft- Activision deal.

After collecting information, releasing surveys, and meeting with relevant parties over the next few months, she plans to inform them of his interim findings and possible solutions (if needed) in January.

The deadline for all parties’ responses will be in February, before the publication of the CMA’s final report on March 1.

The acquisition is currently under scrutiny by regulators around the world amid antitrust concerns during a period of increasing consolidation in the gaming industry.

UK competition watchdog sets March 2023 deadline to judge Xbox's Activision deal
Call of Duty franchise ownership is central to CMA’s competition concerns

Microsoft formally filed its case for its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard with the European Commission last Friday.

The European competition watchdog has set a provisional deadline of November 8 for the deal to be cleared or to choose to enter into a second, more detailed investigation phase as the CMA has chosen.