Microsoft’s $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard is facing intense scrutiny from major regulators. After U.S. regulators asked the court to end the deal, the U.K.’s Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) has also begun to deepen its investigation into potential anticompetitive behavior and has extended its investigation time.
The CMA has extended the deadline for the final report on the acquisition from March 1 to April 26, 2023. That means we may have to wait a few more months to see if the Microsoft deal passes muster.
It notes that the extension is largely due to the scope and complexity of the investigation, so more time is needed to evaluate “the extensive evidence and submissions from key parties and third parties.
The CMA reported last month that after inviting public comments, the regulator received 2,100 emails, with about three-quarters of them saying they were in favor of the deal and a quarter against it.
Since the $68.7 billion deal was announced, various regulators, including the CMA itself and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), have stepped in in various ways, arguing that the deal could hinder normal market competition, despite Microsoft’s presence in the game. The industry is not in a leadership position.
The CMA concluded the first phase of its investigation in September, opting to extend the proceedings to a second in-depth phase because “the acquisition is likely to result in a substantial reduction in competition in one or more markets in the UK region.”
Of course, this extension does not mean that the CMA will definitely release the final report on April 26. They also emphasized that their goal is to “complete the investigation as soon as possible and before this date.