An investigation into Microsoft’s $68.7 billion deal to buy game developer Activision Blizzard has started in the U.K.
On Wednesday, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it had until Sept. 1 to make its phase 1 decision on whether the deal between the software giant and the video-game maker would affect competition.
In a statement, Britain’s antitrust watchdog said it was concerned that the deal might have an impact on “higher prices, lower quality or reduced choice”.
Sept. 1 is the regulator’s deadline for its initial decision. The phase 1 investigation will either clear the deal or move to a more phase 2 probe.
Last January, Microsoft announced the purchasing of Activision, the biggest gaming industry deal in history and the largest all-cash acquisition on record. The move was part of Microsoft’s effort to focus into the metaverse platforms.
Lisa Tanzi, Microsoft’s corporate vice president, said scrutiny was expected and that the company would “fully cooperate” with the CMA. “We remain confident the deal will close in fiscal year 2023 as initially anticipated,” Tanzi said.
Call of Duty, Candy Crush and Warcraft are among the top selling franchises that include the deal. Microsoft’s Xbox division is one of the largest game console manufacturers, competing with giants Sony and Nintendo.