UK regulators drop some concerns in Microsoft-Activision deal

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The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Friday sided with Microsoft over concerns that the tech giant may remove the Call of Duty (CoD) game from Sony PlayStation once its $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard deal is approved.

In a statement, the UK regulator narrowed the scope of concerns in Microsoft-Activision deal review. Activision Blizzard is the maker of the popular CoD game.

New evidence provisionally alleviates concerns in relation to supply of gaming consoles in the UK. The investigation continues with the final report still due by April 26, said the CMA.

“Having considered the additional evidence provided, we have now provisionally concluded that the merger will not result in a substantial lessening of competition in console gaming services because the cost to Microsoft of withholding Call of Duty from PlayStation would outweigh any gains from taking such action,” said Martin Coleman, chair of the independent panel of experts conducting this investigation.

In February, the CMA published provisional findings setting out that the deal raises competition concerns in relation to both console gaming and cloud gaming services in the UK.

The CMA has received a significant amount of new evidence in response to its original provisional findings.

Having considered this new evidence carefully, the CMA inquiry group has updated its provisional findings and reached the provisional conclusion that, overall, the transaction will not result in a substantial lessening of competition in relation to console gaming in the UK.

“Our provisional view that this deal raises concerns in the cloud gaming market is not affected by today’s announcement. Our investigation remains on course for completion by the end of April,” said Coleman.

Activision Blizzard develops popular gaming content for consoles, PC, and mobile, which includes titles such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush.

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