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Microsoft's Activision buyout could be blocked for 10 years

xbox boss phil spencer at e3 2017
Xbox/Activision merger may not happen for 10 yearsE3

Microsoft's planned acquisition of Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard may have been put on ice.

The Xbox manufacturer announced in January 2022 that it wanted to acquire the gaming company for almost $69 million (£55 million).

The proposed deal would have been the biggest takeover of one company by another in the history of gaming, but governments had concerns.

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In order to work, the deal needs to be approved by regulators in the UK, the US and the EU.

Last week, the UK's Competition and Markets Authority blocked the deal over concerns it would alter the future of the cloud gaming market, leading to reduced innovation and less choice for UK gamers.

Due to the global nature of the business, the decision stops the merger on a worldwide scale.

The Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission are yet to make their decisions.

Both companies have stated their intention to appeal against the decision, with Microsoft's vice chairman Brad Smith claiming the decision is "bad for Britain" in an interview with the BBC.

A government spokesman responded, "Those sorts of claims are not borne out by the facts." They added that the UK games sector had doubled in size in the past 10 years.

call of duty modern warfare 2 2022
Activision

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If an appeal is unsuccessful, the companies may not be able to try again for a decade, as page 336 of the CMA's report states: "Prohibition would be affected by accepting undertakings under section 82 of the Act or making an order under section 84 of the Act, prohibiting the Merger and preventing the Parties from attempting to merge for a further period: our normal practice would be to prevent a future merger between the Parties for the next 10 years, absent a change of circumstances."

The bit about "a change of circumstances" could mean anything from an initial appeal to future changes in technology and the gaming market.

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