UK probes Microsoft’s $69 billion purchase of Activision

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The UK antitrust watchdog kicked-off an investigation into Microsoft Corp.’s planned $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard Inc. joining other regulators in scrutinizing the video game deal.

The Competition and Markets Authority said Wednesday it will consider whether the deal will harm competition and lead to higher prices or reduced choice. The regulator said it will work with counterparts around the world and set itself an initial deadline of Sept. 1 to decide whether to launch an in-depth investigation.

The CMA has long advocated for a more forceful approach to reviewing deals, particularly by the biggest technology companies. Regulators are likely to look closely at how Microsoft’s ownership of Activision could harm rivals by limiting their access to the company’s biggest games.

The Federal Trade Commission is also examining the deal, chair Lina Khan told lawmakers in June.

A spokesperson from Microsoft did not immediately comment on the probe.

The FTC’s Activision investigation will focus on the combination of the company’s gaming portfolio with Microsoft’s consoles and hardware systems. Lawmakers have also urged the FTC to closely examine how the proposed deal would impact workers at Activision, who have called for greater accountability at the company in the wake of sexual harassment and discrimination allegations.

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