The UK’s antitrust regulator has blocked Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of gaming giant Activision Blizzard over concerns that it would hinder competition in cloud gaming. The regulator said that Microsoft’s commitment to offer access to Activision’s “Call of Duty” franchise to leading cloud gaming platforms would not effectively remedy its concerns.
Microsoft’s President Brad Smith said that the company would appeal the decision, while Activision said it would “work aggressively” with Microsoft to reverse it. If Microsoft throws in the towel, it would free up more than $60 billion in cash flow to either return to investors or make investments in AI-related offerings. Europe will decide on the Activision deal by May 22, and the US Federal Trade Commission is also seeking to block it.