Microsoft has announced that alongside Activision, it has reached an agreement with the UK antitrust regulator CMA to sit back at the negotiation table about the proposed acquisition.
The announcement has just been delivered by Microsoft vice chair and president Brad Smith, who mentioned that despite their disagreements on the CMA's concerns, the parties agree that negotiation is in the public interest. As such, they have submitted a joining submission to the Competition Appeal Tribunal which will have to rule on the case.
After today's court decision in the U.S., our focus now turns back to the UK. While we ultimately disagree with the CMA's concerns, we are considering how the transaction might be modified in order to address those concerns in a way that is acceptable to the CMA.
In order to prioritize work on these proposals, Microsoft and Activision have agreed with the CMA that a stay of the litigation in the UK would be in the public interest and the parties have made a joint submission to the Competition Appeal Tribunal to this effect.
This comes hot on the heels of a US Federal Court's ruling against the preliminary injunction requested by the FTC to try to stop the deal. Recently, the CMA tried to delay the hearing for Microsoft's appeal against its own decision to block it, but the tribunal denied the motion with rather firm wording. The regulator may have decided that it's better to sit back at the negotiating table rather than face a legal proceeding that it may not win.
The hearing for the appeal in front of the Competition Appeal Tribunal was scheduled to start on July 28, but this new decision likely resets the clock on that. We'll follow the situation closely and let you know if anything new surfaces on this front.