Back in January, Microsoft announced that is buying Activision Blizzard in a mega-deal worth $68.7 billion, with the acquisition expected to complete at the end of fiscal year 2023. A successful acquisition would see Microsoft bring multiple franchises into its portfolio such as Overwatch, Diablo, Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Candy Crush, Starcraft, and more.
However, given the scale of the deal and its potential impact on the market, the purchase has to go through several regulatory hurdles before it is approved. Today, UK government watchdog Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has begun its investigation of the merger.
From today until July 20, the CMA is inviting comments and feedback from any party, with the regulator noting that:
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is considering whether it is or may be the case that this transaction, if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 and, if so, whether the creation of that situation may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services.
To assist it with this assessment, the CMA invites comments on the transaction from any interested party.
These comments should be provided by the deadline set out above.
An initial decision will be reached by September 1.
Although investigations into mergers are a fairly common occurrence, especially if there is a fear of a successful purchase resulting in a monopoly, the jury is still out on what the CMA's decision will be. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the U.S. is investigating the same deal currently as well.
We have also talked about the impact of the deal, with pros and cons discussed in detail. It'll be interesting to see what decision the UK watchdog will reach in a couple of months, but we know that stock prices for Activision Blizzard will likely plummet if the acquisition does not pass regulatory scrutiny.