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U.K. CMA Says In-depth Probe Needed For Microsoft - Activision Blizzard Deal

The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority Thursday said that an in-depth probe is needed for Microsoft corp.'s (MSFT) proposed $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI).

CMA is concerned that the deal could substantially lessen competition in gaming consoles, multi-game subscription services, and cloud gaming services.

The CMA is concerned that Microsoft could leverage Activision Blizzard's games together with Microsoft's strength across console, cloud, and PC operating systems to damage competition in the nascent market for cloud gaming services.

The CMA said it considers that the concerns warrant an in-depth Phase 2 investigation. Microsoft and Activision Blizzard now have 5 working days to submit proposals to address the CMA's concerns. If suitable proposals are not submitted, the deal will be referred for a Phase 2 investigation.

The CMA had launched its merger inquiry on 6 July 2022 and had a deadline of 1 September 2022 for its phase 1 decision.

In January, Microsoft agreed to acquire Activision Blizzard for $95.00 per share, in an all-cash deal valued at $68.7 billion, inclusive of Activision Blizzard's net cash.

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