UK Government Now Wants Literally Anyone’s Opinion On The Microsoft-Activision Blizzard Deal

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The United Kingdom’s government is in the process of analyzing the proposed sale of Activision Blizzard to Microsoft a process that has been contentious so far. However, things are looking to only get more chaotic as the next chapter in this legal saga unfolds. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is now inviting any person to weigh in.

People have been commenting on the deal at great length so far on social media, but this is the first time that the CMA has officially announced it is seeking public commentary around the proposed sale. “At this point we invite anyone, including members of the public, to share their views with us,” the CMA wrote on its website.

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Naturally, it’s expected that some people will grief the system and send in less-than-serious opinions about the deal. After all, debates in online circles have been active and heated, namely due to Call of Duty’s multiplatform status appearing to be in question, among other high-profile issues.

People can submit their opinions to the CMA at this email address: [email protected] The CMA said it probably won’t be able to acknowledge or respond to all emails due to the “anticipated volume of submissions.”

The call for public insight came as part of a “guidance” post released today in which the CMA outlined how it is investigating the proposed buyout and what it means for gamers and the wider industry.

The CMA first conducted a Phase 1 investigation to determine if there would be “competition concerns.” The sale did not pass this, so it is now elevated to Phase 2. As part of this, the CMA is gathering additional evidence to “investigate potential issues with competition that could arise as a result of the merger.”

The CMA is now compiling what it calls an “Issues Statement,” which covers what the government body described as “theories of harm,” or “potential concerns” about the proposed sale. The CMA is seeking the public’s opinion on the deal as part of this.

After this, the CMA will hold hearings and potentially visit the companies in question on site to “learn more about their business.”

“If we think the merger could have a negative impact on competition, we also start thinking about potential solutions to those concerns,” the CMA said.

Following this, the CMA will publish a “provisional findings” document that outlines a provisional decision. Should the CMA have ongoing concerns, it will send Microsoft and Activision Blizzard its “thoughts on possible solutions” as part of a “remedies notice.”

The last stage is the publishing of the “final report,” which is the CMA’s final decision on the matter about whether the proposed Microsoft buyout of Activision Blizzard “would harm competition for consumers or businesses in the UK.”

If there are no competition concerns, the deal can go through as intended. Should there be concerns, however, the CMA will “decide how these should be remedied.” This could include “selling part of the business or prohibiting the merger altogether.”

For the Microsoft-Activision Blizzard case, there are four panelists in charge of making the decision. These people–Martin Coleman (Chair), John Thanassoulis, Humphrey Battcock, and Ashleye Gunn–are experts in the field of business, finance, economics, and law.

As for when the CMA could make a decision, the group said it will hand down a ruling by March 1, 2023. You can visit the CMA’s website to see a full rundown of the group’s investigation into the deal.

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