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Microsoft's Activision Blizzard Acquisition Faces New Scrutiny From UK Competition Commission

The UK’s competition watchdog will launch an investigation to see if Microsoft's proposed acquisition will harm consumers and competitors.


The UK's Competition and Markets Authority has launched an investigation into Microsoft's planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard, citing a need to probe the deal and see if it will have a harmful impact on consumers and competitors.

"We’ll consider if gamers could end up paying higher prices, with less choice or lower quality," the watchdog organization said in a statement. The CMA's deadline for its investigation and if it'll recommend further action is September 1, but the organization did add that it's looking for feedback from relevant third parties until July 20.

The acquisition of Activision Blizzard--which is valued at almost $69 billion--is the largest in the gaming industry to date and is under scrutiny by other similar organizations around the world. In the US, the Federal Trade Commission began investigating the proposed deal. Recently, the FTC stated that it planned to more aggressively police similar deals, especially when the biggest technology companies in the US are involved.

Late last month, Activision Blizzard shareholders voted to approve a report looking into the company's anti-harassment efforts and also voted to approve its list of Board of Directors nominees, which keeps CEO Bobby Kotick in his current position for now. The CEO has been accused of hiding what he knew about harassment and assault allegations at Activision Blizzard and allegedly maintaining the company's toxic work culture.

In June, Activision Blizzard released the results of its own internal investigation via its investor site and while it did acknowledge individual instances of harassment, it claimed that there was "no evidence" that senior executives ignored harassment or concealed information from the Board.

Darryn Bonthuys on Google+

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