Activision CEO says CMA decision will lessen competition, expects reversal after appeal

The Microsoft and Activision Blizzard logos

Bobby Kotick, the CEO of Activision Blizzard, has said that the company will appeal the Competition and Market Authority’s (CMA) decision to block its acquisition by Microsoft. In a recent interview with CNBC, Kotick said that the company previously didn’t expect it would need to appeal but will do so. Unsurprisingly, he called the decision flawed in every way and will create a “lessening of competition”.

“It was so flawed in every way, that it’s going to create a lessening of competition which is the opposite of what their mission is,” Kotick said mid-interview. “And so we think the appeals tribunal will see that and rule in our favour.”

After being asked if other companies had ever successfully appealed a CMA decision, he said there have been. He said the regulator had to go back and accept the company’s remedies. Kotick said that he expects the appeals process to be successful for the company which would allow the acquisition to continue.

If the appeal, which has not been filed yet, is to be successful, Activision will need to assuage the regulator. The possibility of spinning off Call of Duty was raised in the interview but Kotick pushed back against this idea calling it impractical. He also pointed out that the CMA didn’t really suggest that as a remedy.

At the end of the interview, Kotick said that the appeal briefing hadn’t been filed yet. Over the next week, he said more details about the timing of the appeals process will be available. It’s likely to take several months until we get a decision either way. Microsoft has also been doing the media rounds with President Brad Smith calling the decision "bad for Britain".

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