The pending deal by Microsoft to acquire Activision Blizzard has come under a new investigation, this time in the UK. The investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority will examine the deal to determine if it would be harmful to consumers.
According to a report from CNBC, the initial investigation was opened today and will continue, with the agency requesting third-party comment on the potential impact. The investigation will work with the question of whether letting the deal happen “could harm competition and lead to worse outcomes for consumers – for example, through higher prices, lower quality, or reduced choice”.
The initial consultation will run for two weeks, until July 20th, but a final decision won’t come until September 1st.
The proposed deal was announced back in January, with the potential for Microsoft to become the owner of not just one of the biggest games companies around, but several top IPs, gained attention and almost immediately, questions about the ability for this deal to pass regulatory hurdles in the US and abroad. There are, at this point, already warnings from some that believe the deal won’t be able to be completed as proposed, if at all.
More recently, Microsoft announced a policy of not interfering should any of its employees decide to unionize, after Activision Blizzard got its first union in the Raven Software QA workers that formed Game Workers Alliance. This came to pass after lawsuits and investigations put Activision Blizzard on defense after a series of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and hostile workplace accusations were made. The company recently declared those without merit after an internal investigation.
Microsoft being able to complete the deal for Activision Blizzard is of global importance, as this is a deal between huge global companies, so for now, the deal in the UK is coming under some extra scrutiny. It won’t be the last development of this kind.
If the deal does eventually get approval, Microsoft expects it to close in about a year.