Microsoft Asks London Tribunal to Pause Appeal in $69 Billion Takeover of Activision Blizzard

Microsoft Requests Pause in Appeal Against Block on Activision Blizzard Takeover

London, July 17 (Reuters) – In an effort to resolve the ongoing dispute, Microsoft (MSFT.O) has requested a pause in its appeal against Britain’s block on its $69 billion takeover of Activision Blizzard (ATVI.O). The tech giant has asked a London tribunal for more time to find a resolution before proceeding with the appeal.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Britain’s competition regulator, was the first major regulatory body to block the acquisition of the popular gaming company, citing concerns about the impact on competition in cloud gaming. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has also opposed the merger. However, the FTC suffered a major defeat last week when a federal court rejected its application to temporarily halt the deal.

Typically, the CMA’s final report marks the end of the process, with companies unable to offer remedies after its publication. Their only recourse is to turn to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT). However, in a surprising move, the CMA announced last week that it may consider a modified proposal from Microsoft, following a U.S. federal court ruling allowing the deal to proceed. The CMA stated that a restructured deal could potentially address their concerns, but a new investigation would be necessary.

Both Microsoft and the CMA have applied for a two-month pause of the case at the CAT. The pause would allow the parties involved to engage in productive discussions regarding Microsoft’s proposals. Microsoft’s lawyers argue that the CMA is the main obstacle to closing the deal and believe that pausing the case would give all parties a chance to find a mutually agreeable solution.

However, Judge Marcus Smith expressed his desire to hear from the lawyers involved to determine whether there is a proper legal foundation for the CMA to consider a modified deal. He also questioned whether the FTC’s initial defeat in the U.S. had been taken into account by the CMA.

In summary, Microsoft has requested a pause in its appeal against the block on its acquisition of Activision Blizzard. This comes after the CMA’s announcement that it would consider a modified proposal from Microsoft. The parties involved are seeking a two-month pause to engage in discussions and potentially find a resolution. The judge has raised questions about the legal basis for the CMA’s consideration of a modified deal.