The Queen's Lawyer Is Now Helping Activision Fight The Blocked Microsoft Acquisition In The UK
Both Activision Blizzard and Microsoft have seemingly lawyered up in a big way for the upcoming appeals process.
Both Activision Blizzard and Microsoft have reportedly hired high-profile lawyers to lead their appeals of the recent decision by the UK's Competition & Markets Authority to block their $68.7 billion merger.
According to The Financial Times, Activision Blizzard has hired Lord David Pannick KC, who previously represented Queen Elizabeth II, Boris Johnson, and Princess Diana. Pannick works for Blackstone Chambers and his clients have also included the prime minister of the UAE and the entire kingdom of Saudi Arabia. More recently, he represented Boris Johnson amid the former prime minister's "partygate" scandal.
For its part, Microsoft has retained the legal services of Daniel Beard KC of Monckton Chambers, according to The Telegraph. Beard is described as a big player in the market of legal matters pertaining to competition, public policy, and regulatory matters.
GameSpot has contacted Activision Blizzard and Microsoft in an attempt to confirm the details about the legal teams representing each company in their appeals process.
According to The Financial Times, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard will file appeals independently with the UK's Competition Appeal Tribunal. This is expected to be a challenging process, which is why Activision Blizzard and Microsoft lawyered up in the way they have.
The CMA previously decided against Facebook parent company Meta in a deal that people are referencing with respect to the Microsoft-Activision buyout. Meta bought Giphy in 2020 but the CMA ruled that it needed to sell the company in 2022, which it did after losing an appeal.
In a decision handed down on April 26, the CMA decided that it would block Microsoft's purchase of Activision Blizzard over concerns about the cloud gaming market. Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has said the company does not need to acquire Activision Blizzard to deliver on its ambitions in the gaming space, but doing so would accelerate those plans.
"The CMA decision was disappointing. We've been talking to that group for coming up on a year. They defined a market of cloud gaming that, in my mind, doesn't really exist yet today. But they have a point of view that maybe we have a lead in a market that is just forming and that this content could somehow prohibit others from competing in that market," Spencer said. "Activision Blizzard King is not our strategy. But it is an accelerant for our strategy."
Keep checking back with GameSpot for the latest on this case.
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