UK Just Nixed the Biggest Tech Deal in History

Microsoft's $69B attempt to buy video game maker Activision scuttled over fears of stifling competition
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 26, 2023 8:15 AM CDT
UK Nixes Microsoft's $69B Deal to Scoop Up Activision
The Activision Blizzard booth is seen during the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles on June 13, 2013.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

British regulators have blocked Microsoft's $69 billion deal to buy video game maker Activision Blizzard over worries that it would stifle competition in the cloud gaming market. The UK's Competition and Markets Authority said in its final report Wednesday that "the only effective remedy" to the significant loss of competition that the deal would result in "is to prohibit the merger." The all-cash deal was set to be the biggest in the history of the tech industry, per the AP.

But the deal faces stiff opposition from rival Sony and is also being scrutinized by regulators in the US and Europe over fears that it would give Microsoft control of popular game franchises like Call of Duty. Microsoft said it was disappointed and signaled it wasn't ready to give up. "We remain fully committed to this acquisition and will appeal," President Brad Smith said in a statement.

Smith said the UK watchdog's decision "rejects a pragmatic path to address competition concerns" and discourages tech innovation and investment in the United Kingdom. "We're especially disappointed that, after lengthy deliberations, this decision appears to reflect a flawed understanding of this market and the way the relevant cloud technology actually works," Smith said. Activision also fired back, saying it would "work aggressively with Microsoft to reverse this on appeal."

(More Microsoft stories.)

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