Microsoft has formally filed its appeal against the UK’s Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) over the group’s decision to block the Xbox company’s planned $68.7 billion buyout of Activision Blizzard.
Immediately after the CMA handed down its decision on April 26, both Microsoft and Activision Blizzard said they would appeal, and now it is finally happening. Microsoft retained the legal services of Daniel Beard KC of Monckton Chambers. Beard is described as a big player in the market of legal matters pertaining to competition, public policy, and regulation.
For its part, Activision Blizzard hired Lord David Pannick KC, who previously represented Queen Elizabeth II, Boris Johnson, and Princess Diana for its own appeal. Whether or not Activision Blizzard has officially filed its own appeal as of yet is unknown. GameSpot has contacted both Microsoft and Activision Blizzard in an attempt to get more details.
The appeal is being made to the CMA’s Competition Appeal Tribunal.
According to patent expert Florian Mueller, the amount of time it takes for the Tribunal to publish the summaries of the appeal documentation can be days, a week, or longer.
A Microsoft spokesperson has confirmed the company has formally filed its appeal against the UK antitrust watchdog’s decision to block its $69 billion Activision Blizzard deal. On Terminal.
— Katharine Gemmell (@kathgemm) May 24, 2023
The CMA’s decision came as a shock to Microsoft and Activision Blizzard. The anti-trust organization’s biggest concern pertained to the cloud gaming market, not Call of Duty exclusivity. Microsoft and Activision Blizzard have said the CMA made a decision based on misguided claims.
Not long after the CMA voted to block the sale, the European Union cleared the deal. The CMA reacted to the EU’s decision and doubled down on its own ruling against the buyout.
Microsoft’s deal to buy Activision Blizzard has been approved in 37 countries, but in addition to the UK, the United States has yet to give the green light. The Federal Trade Commission in the US will conduct a hearing in early August 2023 to discuss the sale.
The $68.7 billion that Microsoft is proposing to pay for Activision Blizzard represents the biggest-ever acquisition in gaming history and among the largest in any business. Microsoft’s biggest acquisition ever was LinkedIn, which it acquired in 2016 for $26.2 billion. The Activision Blizzard deal is 2.5x bigger than that.
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