The locking of horns between Microsoft and the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority over Microsoft’s billion-dollar acquisition of Activision-Blizzard appears to be reaching a boiling point. According to reporting from Bloomberg, Microsoft president Brad Smith is meeting with the company’s legal representatives to consider ways to counter the CMA’s decision, including “extreme” measures like pulling Activision from the UK market entirely.
This reads like a highly hypothetical scenario overall, but this possible scorched earth move could happen by moving Activision to another European country outside of the CMA’s jurisdiction and having its games sold via a distributor. Another option reportedly being considered is simply bypassing the CMA’s order and pressing ahead with the deal.
The CMA blockade appears to be getting rather personal, as Smith previously stated that the EU is “a more attractive place to start a business than the United Kingdom” and UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt criticized the CMA’s move as not understanding its wider responsibilities.
Smith is scheduled to be in London to give a talk about AI’s potential and regulation next week, when he is also expected to speak with Hunt privately about the merger’s freeze.