UK competition regulator extends Microsoft-Activision investigation by six weeks

The Competition and Markets Authority has until August 29th to consider Microsoft's submissions.

Dado Ruvic / reuters

The saga over whether regulators will allow Microsoft to purchase Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion will last at least a little longer. Citing insufficient time, the United Kingdom's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has given itself an additional six weeks to consider Microsoft's "detailed and complex submission" arguing for the merger. The CMA will now provide a decision by August 29th, though it aims to do so earlier.

Microsoft first announced its plan to buy Activision Blizzard for $95 per share in January 2022. The CMA opened an investigation into the merger last fall, and, this April, it released an inquiry report detailing the "substantial lessening of competition" (SLC) in cloud gaming services the UK could face if Microsoft proceeded with the purchase. "The prohibition of the Merger would be the only effective and proportionate remedy to the SLC and any adverse effects which have resulted from, or may be expected to result from, the SLC," the regulatory agency stated.

This latest development comes shortly after the CMA and Microsoft pressed pause on their legal battle in hopes of negotiating a compromise. "While we ultimately disagree with the CMA's concerns, we are considering how the transaction might be modified in order to address those concerns in a way that is acceptable to the CMA," Microsoft president Brad Smith shared in a July tweet.

Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley also recently denied the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) preliminary injunction in the US, which would've led Microsoft and Activision Blizzard to abandon the deal. The FTC has since filed an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals requesting a pause of the acquisition.