Microsoft says it “really tried” to heed UK regulators' concerns before launching its new bid to acquire Activision Blizzard – and it's now up to regulators to decide whether that path is clear.
“I think we need to let regulators speak for themselves,” Brad Smith, Microsoft vice chairman and president, said in an exclusive interview with CNBC. “You have choices to make, particularly in the UK, but from my perspective we've really tried to take those concerns to heart.”
Last Tuesday, Microsoft presented UK regulators with a new proposal to acquire American game maker Activision Blizzard after its original proposal was rejected.
Microsoft and Activision have agreed on a new, restructured agreement, which the UK Competition and Markets Authority will now investigate with a decision deadline of October 18.
Microsoft has presented UK regulators with a new proposal to acquire American games maker Activision Blizzard after its original proposal was rejected.
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Regarding the regulatory concerns, Smith said, “We have not attempted to dismiss them. We didn't try to downplay them. We didn't try to ignore them.”
“We've worked to address them, and in addressing them, we've launched a transaction that drives competition while addressing some people's concerns on the anti-competitive side,” he told CNBC's Martin Soong on the sidelines of Business 20 Summit in New Delhi.
“I think it's up to the regulators, particularly now in the UK, to decide if that path is clear,” he said in an interview broadcast on Monday.
The UK's competition and markets regulator said that under the new agreement, Microsoft will not acquire cloud rights to existing Activision PC and console games or new games published by Activision for the next 15 years.
Instead, French game maker Ubisoft will acquire those rights ahead of Microsoft's acquisition of Activision, the CMA added.
“This isn't just a recipe for me for this transaction,” Smith said.
“I think that in the world of technology, whether it's software, hardware or pharmaceuticals, there are times when companies can come together to innovate and make better products, and steps may need to be taken at the same time.” we need to address regulatory concerns.”