Microsoft will likely stop selling Activision games in the UK. According to a recent report from Bloomberg, Microsoft is reportedly evaluating all available alternatives to secure permission to acquire Activision Blizzard as the business prepares for its appeal hearing in July against the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
That may even mean removing Activision from markets, making the merger impossible.
The president of Microsoft, Brad Smith, is scheduled to meet with the Chancellor of the United Kingdom, Jeremy Hunt, the following week to discuss the CMA’s decision to block the acquisition. According to the article, one of the discussion topics during the talks would be the criticisms that Smith leveled against the CMA after the decision to block was made.
Smith is scheduled to meet with Hunt and the legal team from Microsoft to discuss all potential defense options. It is highly likely that here is where the “extreme” option of withdrawing Activision Blizzard titles from the market in the UK will be considered.
According to the source, one extreme choice would be to “bypass the UK order and press ahead with the deal or withdraw Activision from the UK market.” This is one of the options listed.
Microsoft is likely to investigate the reasons the European Union gave for approving the acquisition as part of the counterargument it will present in its appeal. The European Union (EU) indicated in its conclusion that the transaction had the potential to “kick-start” competition in the cloud gaming and streaming industries. However, the CMA believes this would provide Microsoft with an unfair competitive advantage over other companies such as Sony or Nintendo.
Bloomberg quotes a Microsoft spokesperson saying the company is “committed to finding creative and constructive ways to address remaining regulatory concerns.”