Competition watchdog to restart talks with Microsoft over Activision-Blizzard merger Business News

Britain’s competition watchdog is poised to reopen talks with Microsoft after the company agreed to drop legal proceedings related to its planned merger with Activision Blizzard.

The tech giant will try to restructure the $69bn (£56bn) deal Response to Competition and Markets Authority concerns After a breakthrough in the United States.

A U.S. judge ruled Tuesday that Microsoft can continue its Acquiring a video game maker Behind Call of Duty.

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The competition watchdog revealed to Sky News in April its decision to block the deal between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard.

U.S. competition watchdog FTC initially asked judge stop the proposed transaction On that basis, it would give Xbox console maker Microsoft exclusive access to Activision games before they become available on other platforms.

Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley rejected the FTC’s bid because it failed to demonstrate that the combined company could remove Call of Duty from the Sony PlayStation or “significantly reduce competition in the related game market.” “.

“The FTC has not shown that its assertion is likely to succeed and that a combined company may remove Call of Duty from the Sony PlayStation,” Judge Corley wrote in his ruling after a week of hearings in San Francisco. , or its ownership of Activision Blizzard content will significantly reduce video game library subscriptions and competition in the cloud gaming market.”

The decision clears a major hurdle for the two companies, which are battling U.S. and U.K. regulators.

In April, British regulators expressed concerns about stifling competition, and Microsoft announced plans to appeal the decision.

The European Union approved the merger the following month.

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European regulators said they accepted Microsoft’s pledge that its proposed acquisition of the developer would not reduce competition in the games industry.

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said after approving the merger: “Video games attract billions of users around the world. Protecting competition and innovation in such a fast-growing and dynamic industry is crucial. “

She added: “Our decision represents an important step in this direction, bringing Activision’s hit titles to more devices and consumers than ever before through cloud game streaming.”

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