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Microsoft’s Activision Deal Faces Antitrust Concerns

Activision stock was dropping in trading Wednesday.

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Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

An independent investigation into
‘s acquisition of
Activision Blizzard
by the United Kingdom’s antitrust regulator says the deal could “result in higher prices, fewer choices, or less innovation for U.K. gamers.”

‘s (ticker: MSFT) $69 billion deal could weaken competition within cloud and console gaming if it goes through, according to provisional findings published by the Competition and Markets Authority on Wednesday.

It added that the deal “could harm U.K. gamers who cannot afford expensive consoles.”

stock (ATVI) was down 3.2%, at $73.21, in recent trading. Microsoft was up 3%, at $275.56.

Activision pointed Barron’s to an email addressed to employees by CEO Bobby Kotick in which he emphasized the provisional nature of the probe. Such investigations “are a normal part of their evaluation process” and “we are listening carefully and look forward to continuing a constructive discussion with both groups as we work toward deal close,” Kotick wrote.

Microsoft Deputy General Counsel Rima Alaily said the company is committed to addressing the concerns and will ensure 100% equal access to all consumers.

In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission is seeking to block the deal and has also alleged it would “harm competition.” In December, the FTC said that Xbox maker Microsoft would be able to manipulate Activision’s pricing, degrade Activision’s game quality or player experience on rival consoles, or withhold content from competitors entirely.

Hearings on the lawsuit by FTC begin in August, according to filings made public last month.

Microsoft announced the all-cash $69 billion deal in January last year. Activision generated $8.5 billion in sales in 2022, a fraction of the $184.4 billion overall gaming market, although it’s one of the largest videogame publishers. The company is best known for its Call of Duty titles.

Write to Karishma Vanjani at 


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