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Microsoft lodges appeal against block on $75bn Call of Duty deal

Microsoft will on Wednesday lodge a formal appeal against British regulators’ decision to block its $75bn takeover of Activision Blizzard, the Call of Duty maker.

Sky News understands that the technology behemoth will file its complaint with the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) within hours, sparking the next phase of its fight to secure one of the world’s biggest takeover deals for years.

Microsoft’s decision to challenge the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) ruling on the Activision Blizzard transaction has been widely expected.

The takeover has been approved in other key jurisdictions, including in the European Union and China, and the CMA’s decision triggered a furious response from both companies’ executives.

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s vice-chair and president, said the CMA’s verdict “discourages technology investment and innovation in the United Kingdom”.

“We’re especially disappointed that after lengthy deliberations, this decision appears to reflect a flawed understanding of this market and the way the relevant cloud technology actually works.”

Microsoft, which declined to comment further on Wednesday afternoon, and Activision are expected to make further statements after the appeal is formally filed.

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Both have hired legal heavyweights to argue their case.

The EC’s ruling on the takeover would require Microsoft to license popular Activision Blizzard games to competing cloud gaming services, a decision that would apply on a global basis.

A resolution overseen by the CAT is likely to take several more months.

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