UK Tribunal Sets Dates for Microsoft Vs CMA Appeal in Activision Blizzard Acquisition Case

The dates for the hearing of Microsoft's appeal against the CMA in the Activision Blizzard acquisition case have been officially announced by the British CAT tribunal.

Published: June 14, 2023 10:20 AM /


Microsoft Activision Acquisition

Today the British Competitions Appeal Tribunal has officially set the dates for the hearing of Microsoft's appeal against the CMA's decision to block the acquisition of Activision Blizzard

According to the tribunal, the hearing will start on July 28 and last an estimated five business days. This means that it could close by August 4. 

We also get an order about the expert evidence conditionally admitted at the management conference, confirming that it's admitted "de bene esse," which means (as we already knew) that it may or may not be actually used after its relevance is examined. Specifically, we learn that Microsoft is allowed to submit three expert reports from economists (Professor Scott Morton, Dr. Foschi, and Dr. Caffarra) and one expert report from a US lawyer (Professor Kraus).

Justice Marcus Smith stresses the importance of urgency in this kind of case and hopes to reduce the duration of the hearing if possible. 

"This is a merger case and for the reasons I gave at the case management conference on 30 May 2023 it is appropriate, as with all merger cases, that this matter comes on quickly, and quickly it is coming on. The parties have agreed that the CMA's defence should be filed on 6 July and the hearing will take place with an extended time estimate of six days, hopefully to be reduced, on 28 July"

In the meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, the FTC has obtained a temporary restraining order against the acquisition until a federal Judge rules on a possible preliminary injunction, with an evidentiary hearing for said ruling set for June 22 and June 23. It's worth mentioning that this will be handled by the same Judge who denied the preliminary injunction in the so-called "Gamer's Lawsuit." Yet, we don't know whether the result will be similar in this new procedure.

Recently, the European Union approved the deal including proposed remedies to level the competitive playing field on the cloud market, which Microsoft agreed to. A few weeks ago, we learned that the deal was approved by the Chinese authority, while earlier this week, South Korea's regulator also cleared the deal, bringing the number of countries that officially cleared the acquisition to 38. So far, the FTC and the CMA have been completely isolated in their hostile stance against the deal. 

In an interview published a few days ago, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick mentioned that Microsoft is “by far the best place" for the publisher, adding that the acquisition is "the right thing for the industry."

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Started as News Editor at TechRaptor in January 2023, following over 20 years of professional experience in gaming journalism both on print media and on the… More about Giuseppe