UK Regulator Extends Deadline For Its Microsoft Activision-Blizzard Investigitation, Mentioning “Special Reasons”

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UK regulator CMA has extended the deadline for its in-depth investigation into the planned merger between Microsoft and Activision-Blizzard.

Back in September of last year, the CMA openly expressed its concerns over Microsoft's proposed acquisition of Activision-Blizzard, stating that the merger could very well be a game-changing merger. As such, the UK regulator announced that there will be a more thorough investigation into the deal. "If our current concerns are not addressed, we plan to explore this deal in an in-depth Phase 2 investigation to reach a decision that works in the interests of UK gamers and businesses", the CMA wrote.

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Following this decision, Microsoft quickly responded to the regulator's so-called 'misplaced' concerns, mentioning that, while Sony might not be too fond of the increased competition, it still can adapt and compete.

Phase 2 of the CMA's investigation is currently underway, but as spotted by ResetEra user "Idas", the regulator has now published two new documents in which it has announced an extension of the inquiry period due to "special reasons". The first document is the "Notice of extension of inquiry period", in which the CMA explains why it feels it needs more to time to deliver a final report. "The Inquiry Group has decided that the reference period should be extended by eight weeks under section 39(3) of the Act as it considers there are special reasons (set out below) why the final report cannot be prepared and published within the reference period", the notification reads.

While the new period will expire on April 26, the CMA writes that it aims to complete the inquiry as soon as possible. The report of Phase 2 was first scheduled to be released on March 1, 2023. Down below you'll find a description of what the CMA calls "special reasons":

In taking this decision, the Inquiry Group had regard to the scope and complexity of the investigation and the need to consider a large volume of evidence as well as main party and third party submissions, the necessity to allow sufficient time to take full and proper account of comments that will be received in response to the Inquiry Group’s provisional findings in due course and to reach a fully reasoned final decision in the statutory timeframe. The Inquiry Group considers that there are special reasons why the report cannot be prepared and published within the original reference period.

The second new document that was published involves a revised administrative timetable for the Microsoft Activision-Blizzard investigation. Going by this document, the CMA has mainly been busy with hearing the main parties, as well as verifying this information. Later this month, and in early February, the group aims to notify provisional findings and possible remedies before continuing with response hearings (if required) in late February/early March.

Interesting tidbits for sure. We'll update you as soon as more information about this heavily-debated deal comes in.

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