Gaming giant Activision Blizzard hires top lawyer in fight over £55bn deal

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Computer Games company Activision Blizzard has hired Boris Johnson’s former lawyer to represent it in a £55 billion legal battle with the competition watchdog.

Lord David Pannick KC, who represented the ex-prime minister through the partygate hearings, will be representing the games giant at a Competition Appeal Tribunal, the Financial Times reported.

It comes after the CMA blocked Microsoft’s 68.7 billion dollar (£55 billion) takeover of Activision Blizzard, the company behind Call Of Duty, World Of Warcraft, Candy Crush and Guitar Hero, among others.

The CMA said that such a deal would give Microsoft an unfair advantage in the cloud computer game market.

It dealt a massive blow to the deal between the two US companies and sparked massive criticism of the watchdog.

The president of Microsoft called the decision his company’s “darkest day” in the UK.

“There’s a clear message here. The European Union is a more attractive place to start a business if you want some day to sell it than the United Kingdom,” he told BBC Radio 4 last month.

After the decision, Activision Blizzard said: “The CMA’s report contradicts the ambitions of the UK to become an attractive country to build technology businesses.

“We will work aggressively with Microsoft to reverse this on appeal.

“The report’s conclusions are a disservice to UK citizens, who face increasingly dire economic prospects.”

The FT reported that Activision Blizzard had hired Lord Pannick on Tuesday. The company declined to comment.

It comes after the Telegraph reported over the weekend that Microsoft had hired Daniel Beard KC to represent it in the battle against the CMA.