M.fast growing company They have long viewed the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority as something of an end boss. continuously for two years, CMAs It has blocked more deals than any other regulator, including Meta’s acquisition of irresponsible meme-generating company Giphy. It’s been another busy year, with Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of video game maker Activision Blizzard blocked in April and expected to get approval elsewhere.
Is the formidable Trustbuster preparing to collapse? On July 11th, a US court upheld a deal between Microsoft and Activision, leaving the UK as a reserver. within hours, CMAs It said it was open to investigating a “modified” version of the deal. Activision stock soars: Investors think the game is over.
some people see CMAsRecent activity as a sign of post-Brexit independence. The bland explanation is that companies are unfamiliar with the UK antitrust regulator (which was on the backburner of Brussels before Brexit), increasing the risk of confusion and surprise. Technology companies have found that: CMAsThe process is rigorous and leaves little room for negotiation. Microsoft was blindsided by April’s ruling against Activision.
Another reason for the new UK vim is in the US. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) previously conditionally approved more vertical mergers, including Microsoft and Activision. But these terms have proven difficult to enforce, so regulators are now prioritizing banning vertical trading altogether. Courts reverse such decisions because the legal basis for doing so is thin in America. In the UK, where trustbuster has wide discretion, CMAsveto is valid. Britain thus stands alone in opposition to a global pact.
This is offensive, especially if the parties are not British. In May, the UK government called on regulators to “understand their broad responsibility for economic growth”.As FTC As we continue to push back against and fail at any big deal, the burden of compromise falls increasingly elsewhere.■
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https://www.economist.com/business/2023/07/13/britain-hands-microsofts-activision-deal-an-extra-life UK gives Microsoft an extension to its extension deal with Activision