CMA Publishes New Restrictions for Microsoft and Activision Blizzard

Following its recent decision to block Microsoft’s planned $69 billion USD (roughly $93 billion CAD) acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published a new interim order.

The order hereby restricts Microsoft and Call of Duty and Overwatch publisher Activision Blizzard from “acquiring an interest” in each other. The order then goes on to state that the new restrictions are being put in place to “prevent pre-emptive action” from Microsoft or Activision ahead of a deal.

The CMA’s new order outlines a series of restrictions in place. For instance, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard are required to acquire “prior written consent” from the CMA in order for either company to acquire an interest in the other company as well as an affiliated subsidiary.

Additionally, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard are restricted from investing in the development of each other’s studios and from acquiring an interest in other businesses that also have investments in the other company.

Both parties are required to ensure that their respective subsidiaries comply with the CMA order. The regulatory body states that both companies must comply “in so far as they are able” as the CMA may give further direction.

Last month, the CMA blocked Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, largely over concerns over cloud gaming. As a rising market, the CMA believed Microsoft didn’t give sufficient evidence that the acquisition wouldn’t breach anticompetitive rulings. Microsoft and Activision Blizzard have stated that they aim to appeal the ruling.

Meanwhile, the European Commission (EU) is due to make its final decision later this month. By May 22, the large regulatory body will state whether it approves the deal or whether concessions will have to be made.