Microsoft’s $69 billion Activision takeover could harm gamers, British regulator says

An Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare video game is introduced to Microsoft’s Xbox One video game console set in Denver, Colorado, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022.

Michael Seglow | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of gaming giant Activision Blizzard could harm competition in Britain’s gaming market, Britain’s competition regulator said on Wednesday.

In a press release on Wednesday, the Competition and Markets Authority said the takeover would significantly reduce competition, leading to higher prices, less choice and less innovation in the sector.

CMA has sent letters to Microsoft and Activision Blizzard outlining possible remedies for its concerns. Companies have until February 22 to respond. The regulator has not published its proposed remedy publicly.

“We are committed to offering effective and easily implementable solutions that address the CMA’s concerns,” Microsoft corporate vice president and deputy general counsel Rima Alili said in an emailed statement to CNBC.

“Our commitment to providing 100% equal access to Call of Duty to Sony, Nintendo, Steam and others preserves the benefits of the deal for gamers and developers and increases competition in the marketplace.”

Microsoft defines “100% equal access” as offering 10 years of equality on content, pricing, features, quality and playability.

Shares of Activision Blizzard fell 4.6 percent in U.S. premarket trading on Wednesday after the CMA announcement.

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