A recent report from Bloomberg indicates that next week, the president of Microsoft, Brad Smith, will meet with the Chancellor of the United Kingdom, Jeremy Hunt, to express his displeasure with the decision of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to block the transaction.
According to Microsoft, Smith will be in London to give a “scheduled talk about the potential of AI and the need for thoughtful regulation of it.” This information was provided to the media.
A spokesman stated that he will also undertake private meetings on other subjects, including the “proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard,” as the company “remains committed to finding creative and constructive ways to address remaining regulatory concerns.”
In the past, Hunt has voiced his disagreement with the CMA’s veto, most recently addressing attendees at a business conference that competition watchdogs need to “understand their wider responsibilities.”
According to Bloomberg, however, government ministers are also dissatisfied with some of Smith’s public criticism of the CMA, in which he stated that he believed the EU was a better place to do business than the UK. This statement has reportedly upset government ministers.
It is said that Smith will meet with legal representatives from Microsoft this week to discuss the company’s strategy to oppose the CMA judgment. These “extreme” options include pulling Activision from the UK market or bypassing the UK order to proceed with the purchase.
In theory, even if Activision’s operations were relocated to a different European country outside of the authority of the CMA, the company’s video games might still be sold through a distributor.
In July, a judge will decide whether or not to hear Microsoft’s appeal of the decision of the UK’s competition authority to ban the company’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
Last Monday, Microsoft officially filed its appeal against the judgment made by the CMA. The Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) in the UK will evaluate the matter after it has been referred to them by Microsoft. Microsoft is appealing the decision on five different grounds.
Nearly forty different nations, including the European Union and, most recently, South Korea, have given their approval for the Activision Blizzard merger.