Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, has claimed that blocking Microsoft’s acquisition of the publisher would bring a major blow to the UK’s aim of becoming a technology superpower.
Microsoft last year acquired Activision Blizzard in a deal that was estimated to cost approximately £50billion ($68billion USD). However, the move has faced ongoing criticism from numerous regulatory bodies and fans.
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Last September, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) voiced concerns that the merger may “harm rivals” and “damage competition” in the gaming industry. The CMA then confirmed it would consider “an in-depth Phase 2 investigation,” following on from a probe it launched last summer.
It was reported earlier this week that the UK’s regulatory body is set to oppose the deal. It comes amid the CMA’s plans to this week publish its provisional findings on the takeover, and notify the relevant parties of possible solutions to any antitrust concerns it may have.
During an interview with CNBC yesterday (February 7), Blizzard CEO Kotick said (via VGC): “Well you think about a post-Brexit UK… it’s probably the first country where you’re seeing a recession, and the real severe consequences of a recession.
“If you’re the UK, and you have an incredibly educated workforce with a lot of technical talent […], I would think you’d want to embrace a transaction like this where you gonna see job creation and opportunity. And it really isn’t at all about whether it’s Sony or Microsoft’s platform; it’s really about the future of technology.:
Kotick went on: “If a deal like this can’t get through, [the UK] are not going to be Silicon Valley, they will be Death Valley.”
Elsewhere, the CEO said that the regulatory bodies “don’t know our industry, so they’re trying to come up to speed and understand the [gaming] industry better”. He added: “I don’t think they understand that it’s a free-to-play business.”
Yesterday also saw Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announce the creation of a new standalone government department for science, innovation and technology.