Competition watchdog to investigate Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard
MICROSOFT'S proposed multi-billion-pound acquisition of video game maker Activision Blizzard is to be investigated by the UK's competition regulator.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it would consider whether the $68.7 billion (£57.7 billion) merger, which was announced in January, could harm competition and lead to "worse outcomes for consumers".
US gaming giant Activision Blizzard is best known as the maker of the Call Of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush franchises, which each have millions of players around the world.
Technology giant Microsoft is not only a household name in the computing world for its hardware and Windows operating system, but also makes the Xbox gaming console range.
The CMA said it wanted to examine whether the deal could harm consumers by leading to "higher prices, lower quality, or reduced choice".
The CMA said it has until September 1 to decide if it believes the merger may harm competition, and if it believes it could, it would launch an in-depth investigation into the deal.
It added that it would engage "as appropriate" with its competition authority counterparts around the world who are also looking into the merger.
The regulator said it was also inviting views on the deal from interested third parties, with a submission deadline of July 20, as part of its initial assessment.
Microsoft has not commented on the CMA's decision.