Despite the continued resistance from the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Microsoft remains steadfast in its objective to finalize its acquisition deal with Activision. The CMA’s ruling, putting a block on the merger, has been challenged by Microsoft, with an appeal lodged with the Competition Appeal Tribunal. A court hearing for this appeal has been slated for July, marking a significant event on the timeline of this saga.
However, Microsoft seems to be exploring other options that do not hinge on the CMA’s verdict. Among these, one strategy stands out for its potential ramifications: Microsoft could decide not to sell Activision games in the UK. Given that the UK represents a crucial market for both the Call Of Duty series and Xbox, such a move would signify a significant strategic shift.
Alternatively, Microsoft may choose to proceed with the merger despite the legal hurdles, thus opening itself to potential future lawsuits from the CMA. As per the CMA’s decision, both Microsoft and Activision are currently prohibited from engaging in any merger talks for the coming decade. Yet, this ruling could potentially be ignored by Microsoft if it decides to proceed.
In the United States, another barrier looms in the form of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC has also expressed disapproval of the buyout and has taken legal action to thwart it. Speculations suggest that Microsoft might either disregard the FTC’s ruling and face subsequent penalties or withdraw from the US market – an exceedingly unlikely scenario considering the US market’s critical role for Microsoft.
The FTC may also find itself under pressure to approve the deal, as it seems that all other countries have given the nod, with the exception of the UK. If the FTC refuses to yield, it could effectively sink Microsoft’s proposed acquisition, turning the entire endeavour into a costly and fruitless venture. As such, the coming months will undoubtedly be pivotal in determining the future of Microsoft’s ambitious acquisition.