Bobby Kotick calls out FTC and CMA following verdict

Microsoft has confirmed that it plans to appeal to the UK's Competition and Markets Authority to change its decision.

Activision Blizzard's longtime CEO can't seem to accept that Microsoft can't buy the company yet.

May 2-3, 2023: After publication, Activision Blizzard contacted us about certain aspects of the original article below. Accordingly, we've made various clarifications and amendments, primarily to paragraph six.

If you'd like to know what happens when you say no to a company that's used to getting what it wants, all you need to do is to look at what Microsoft and, especially, Activision Blizzard, are doing.

Not long after the UK's Competition and Market Authority (CMA) blocked the $70 billion Activision Blizzard buyout by Microsoft, vice chair and president of Microsoft, Brad Smith, referred to it as the company's "darkest day" in Britain. Then, Activision Blizzard followed it up by saying that the Federal Trade Commission, another roadblock to the acquisition, had influenced the CMA.

In a recent CNBC interview, Kotick shared his sentiments, saying:

Well, I was surprised to learn that Lina Khan and the head of the CMA had a meeting a week and a half ago in Washington. You know, legally, you're not supposed to be discussing active litigation. I don't know that they did. But, you know, I think that that's what you're seeing now is that the CMA is being used as a tool by the FTC to be able to create these kinds of outcomes, and this isn't the way that they're supposed to be operating.

Kotick was dealing with sexual harassment allegations against various others at the company when Microsoft announced that it had proposed to buy Activision Blizzard for $70 billion back in January 2022. Many saw this as Kotick's best way out of the allegations ordeal.

But, a little over two years later, we are still watching as Activision Blizzard's share price fluctuates, with many in the gaming community putting some of the blame on Kotick for what happened within the company. There are, of course, multiple reasons for a stock price to fluctuate and Kotick does have his supporters, too.

It's believed that Kotick will leave Activision Blizzard regardless of how the deal turns out.

The worst-case scenario for Kotick would be for shareholders to use their influence to force him into resigning from his post at Activision Blizzard while Microsoft gives up on the buyout. The best-case scenario would be Microsoft and Activision Blizzard working together to turns thing around, getting the CMA and the FTC back on board, and the buyout deal approved.

Make no mistake, the deal can still push through. But, just by saying no, the UK's CMA has postponed whatever Microsoft had initially planned for at least a year.

The only thing that's safe to say at this point is that Microsoft can't finalize its ownership of Activision Blizzard this year.

We're curious to see what the repercussions are for both companies if the deal doesn't push through.

Still, this isn't how anyone expected Microsoft and Activision Blizzard to act. Neither are currying favor, from the fans or regulatory bodies, with their recent statements. Instead, the companies are potentially derailing things. The outburst from Kotick, specifically, is surprising, as he essentially accused the FTC and the CMA of having closed-door meetings.

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Ray Ampoloquio

Ray Ampoloquio // Articles: 5882

Ray is a lifelong gamer with a nose for keeping up with the latest news in and out of the gaming industry. When he's not reading, writing, editing, and playing video games, he builds and repairs computers in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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