Microsoft’s planned $69 billion acquisition of gaming giant Activision Blizzard has been blocked by the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which argued that the deal would have a negative impact on the emerging cloud gaming market. Microsoft is not convinced and last week formally appealed to the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT). On Tuesday, Judge Marcus Smith set a hearing date for this appeal at a case management conference, scheduled for late July.
Smith said the hearing on the merits of this appeal will take place over a two-week period starting July 24 and does not want it to take up the full 10 days, hoping the parties will be able to make more oral presentations.
Microsoft wants the hearing to take place as soon as possible, but the CMA wants the date postponed to allow more time for preparation. Microsoft said in a statement last week, “The CMA’s decision is flawed in several ways, including an overestimation of the role of cloud gaming in the gaming market and our place in it, and their unwillingness to consider solutions that have broad industry and public support.”
The controversial deal has been approved in nearly 40 countries, including the European Union and most recently South Korea. However, the deal is also facing legal challenges in the United States, where the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has sued Microsoft in an attempt to block the acquisition on the basis of competition concerns. i