Microsoft and UK seek two-month break in appeal on Activision deal

Microsoft asked a London court on Monday to block its appeal against the UK blocking its $69 billion takeover of Activision Blizzard, to give the parties more time to settle the dispute.

Britain’s competition regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), in April became the first major regulator to block the acquisition of a “Call of Duty” maker, citing concerns about the impact on cloud gaming competition.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also opposed the merger, but suffered a major defeat last week when a federal court denied the FTC’s request to temporarily block the deal.

In the UK, the final report of the CMA is usually the last word. Companies cannot offer remedies after this is published and their only recourse is the Competition Appellate Tribunal (CAT).

But last week, less than an hour after a US federal court ruled to go ahead with the operation, the CMA said it might reconsider the revised proposal. He then added that a restructured deal could address their concerns, subject to further investigation.

The parties have requested a two-month leave from CTU, which CMA’s counsel says will “allow the CMA and the parties to engage quickly and constructively with respect to Microsoft’s proposals.”

Microsoft lawyers said in court filings that the CMA is a “major obstacle” to closing the deal and that a stay on the case would give all parties an opportunity to try to reach a resolution.

However, Judge Marcus Smith said he wanted to hear from lawyers whether the CMA had a “reasonable legal basis” to consider changing the deal.

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The judge also asked whether the FTC’s initial defeat in the United States was taken into account by the CMA.

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