The surprise decision in April by the UK's Competition and Markets Authority to block Microsoft's planned $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard may cause Microsoft to take some rather extreme (some might say desperate) measures to press on with the purchase.
A new report from Bloomberg, citing unnamed sources, claims Microsoft President Brad Smith is heading to London next week. Part of his trip will be to discuss Microsoft's options with the legal team that's representing the company in its appeal with the CMA. Bloomberg states:
One extreme option could be to bypass the UK order and press ahead with the deal, or withdraw Activision from the UK market, one of the people said, confirming earlier reports by regulatory news outfit Mlex.
The article added that Smith reportedly will also meet with members of the CMA, along with UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt next week. Hunt was critical of the CMA's decision, claiming that regulatory groups should "understand their wider responsibilities"
In April, the UK CMA decided not to approve the purchase of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft. At the time the CMA said that Microsoft's current status as the biggest cloud gaming provider would give it a competitive advantage if it got access to Activision Blizzard's games and made them exclusive to Microsoft's cloud service.
However, just a few weeks later, the European Union decided to approve the purchase. It felt Microsoft's remedies, which included offering both its own and Activision Blizzard's games to competing cloud gaming services for at least 10 years, were enough to allow the acquisition to go through.
Microsoft has filed a formal appeal of the CMA's decision. In a case management conference earlier this week, the judge assigned to hear the case for the UK Competition Appeals Tribunal set a tentative date of July 24 for the appeal hearing to begin.