The head of Britain’s antitrust regulator said barring Microsoft’s acquisition of ‘Call of Duty’ developer Activision Blizzard was the right decision for the UK.
The acquisition was prohibited on Wednesday by the Competition and Markets Authority, which said it could harm competition in the young cloud gaming market.
According to Microsoft President Brad Smith, the judgement “shook confidence in the UK tech industry” and was “probably the darkest day in our four decades in Britain.”
He told BBC radio, “If the government of the United Kingdom wants to bring in investment, if it wants to create jobs (…) it needs to look hard at the role of the CMA, the regulatory structure in the United Kingdom, this transaction, and the message that the United Kingdom has just said to the world,”
“There’s a clear message here – the European Union is a more attractive place to start a business than the United Kingdom,” he added.
However, CMA Chief Executive Sarah Cardell stated that the regulator’s mission is to ensure that Britain is a competitive environment in which firms can develop and thrive.
“That’s important for UK consumers and UK business and it’s those UK consumers and UK businesses that the CMA is here to protect,” she told BBC Radio.
When asked if the British government could overturn the restriction if it believed it was harmful to the country, she stated that the CMA functioned independently and was responsible for its decision.
She said that Britain was not acting alone, pointing out that the US Federal Trade Commission was also trying to prevent the deal from being implemented.