Microsoft-Activision deal blocking by CMA is not bad for UK’s reputation; unemployment increases


The Competition and Markets Authority has denied that its decision to block Microsoft’s $68.7 billion takeover of Activision Blizzard threatens the UK’s reputation as a place to do business.

At a hearing before the Business and Trade Committee on May 16, 2023, CMA chief executive Sarah Cardell said the regulator was “absolutely committed to supporting competitive markets in a way that is good for the UK and its economy”.

“Competition is a keystone, an absolute building block of UK competitiveness,” he said. “And we believe that the steps we’ve taken in this area are strengthening the UK’s competitive position.”

Cardel’s comments came after Microsoft president Brad Smith criticized the CMA’s decision, saying it was “bad for Britain” and that the EU was a good place to start a business.

Smith argued the CMA’s decision would stifle innovation and competition in the video game industry. He also said it would send other potential UK investors a negative message.

Cardell said the CMA’s decision was based on evidence the deal would harm competition in the UK. He said that Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard would give the company a dominant position in the video game market, leading to higher prices and fewer consumer choices.

“We believe this deal will hurt UK competitiveness,” he said. “And we believe it’s our job to protect competition in the UK, and that’s what we’ve done in this case.”

The CMA’s decision to block the Microsoft-Activation deal is a significant setback for Microsoft. The company hoped to use the acquisition to expand its reach into the gaming market and compete with rivals like Sony and Nintendo.

It needs to be clarified what Microsoft’s next move will be. The company can appeal the CMA’s decision or strike a deal with the regulator that allows the acquisition.

This decision of the CMA is also a shock for the UK government. The Government is trying to attract more investment to the UK’s technology sector, and the Microsoft-Activation deal would be a significant coup.

The Government needs to work to reassure investors that the UK is still a welcoming place to do business. It can do this by reforming the CMA or providing more technology sector support.

Only time will tell the long-term impact of the CMA’s decision. However, the decision raises concerns about the UK’s approach to competition regulation. The Government needs to address these concerns to maintain the UK’s reputation as a welcoming place to do business.

Decisions by regulatory authorities such as the CMA can have implications for a country’s reputation, particularly regarding its business environment and competition outlook. When regulatory agencies block or approve large-scale mergers and acquisitions, it can shape a country’s perception of its commitment to fair competition, consumer protection, and economic openness.

The CMA’s decisions are usually based on competition law and the likely impact on consumers and market dynamics. Their role is to ensure that mergers and acquisitions do not result in anti-competitive behaviour or harm to consumers. Sometimes, blocking an agreement is necessary to protect fair competition, while approving a contract may support business growth and innovation.

Ultimately, the impact on the UK’s reputation will depend on several factors, including the specific circumstances of the deal, the rationale behind the CMA’s decision and how it aligns with broader national economic objectives and policies.

The Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) refusal to block the Microsoft-Activity deal may not necessarily be wrong for the UK’s reputation. While it is essential to consider potential economic benefits and market competition, the decision-making process of a regulatory authority such as the CMA is usually based on careful analysis and consideration of a range of factors.

The CMA’s primary role is to ensure fair competition and protect consumer interests within the UK. If the CMA determined that should not block the Microsoft-Activision deal ed based on an assessment of potential effects on competition or consumer welfare, it would mean that it found no compelling basis to intervene. The decision reflects the CMA’s commitment to independence and thorough evaluation.

The regulatory authorities of different countries may have other procedures and priorities when reviewing mergers and acquisitions. The CMA’s decision, in this case, may align with their specific interpretation of UK competition law and their assessment of the particular circumstances surrounding the Microsoft-Activision agreement.

The CMA’s decision demonstrates a favourable business climate and regulatory framework favouring mergers and acquisitions, encouraging foreign investment. Others may have concerns about the potential consequences of competition and market concentration. Considering the different perspectives and ongoing debates surrounding these issues is essential.

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Marta Lopez

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By Marta Lopez


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