Xbox-Activision deal: UK competition watchdog extends investigation

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority says it "aims to complete the inquiry as soon as possible"

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has pushed back plans to release its final report on Xbox’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

As VGC reports, the publication of the document has been delayed by up to eight weeks (from March 1 to April 26). The regulator said yesterday (January 5), however, that it “aims to complete the inquiry as soon as possible and in advance of this date”.

Martin Coleman, the inquiry group chair, said the CMA “considers that there are special reasons why the report cannot be prepared and published within the original reference period”.


He continued: “In taking this decision, the Inquiry Group had regard to the scope and complexity of the investigation and the need to consider a large volume of evidence as well as main party and third party submissions, the necessity to allow sufficient time to take full and proper account of comments that will be received in response to the Inquiry Group’s provisional findings in due course and to reach a fully reasoned final decision in the statutory timeframe.”

Last September, the CMA confirmed that the $68.7billion (£57.9billion) takeover had entered a second phase of inquiry as a result of numerous antitrust concerns. This involved bringing in an independent panel of experts to explore the concerns and potential risks in more detail.

Over the last few months, the watchdog has gathered evidence, held hearings with various parties and sent out questionnaires. The CMA aims to share its provisional findings and potential solutions to any competition concerns it may still have later this month or in early February.

All parties are required to respond by March, prior to the CMA’s final report being published.

Recently, a collective of gamers took legal action against Microsoft in the hopes of stopping its takeover of Activision.

Last month also saw the US’ Federal Trade Commission (FTC) release a statement saying it hopes to block the deal as it would see Microsoft “gain control of top video game franchises, enabling it to harm competition in high-performance gaming consoles and subscription services by denying or degrading rivals’ access to its popular content”.

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