Microsoft was invited to showcase its products at 10 Downing Street on the same day that its $75 billion deal to buy games maker Activision faced a block from Britain’s competition watchdog.
The tech giant will attend an event organized by industry body UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE) on April 26, the same day as the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) statutory deadline for a second stage ruling on the Activision deal, Sky News has learned. .
A City source said the intersection of the two events was “confused” and said the CMA’s decision to reject the deal would “damage” Microsoft’s relationship with the government.
They added that Microsoft would face “embarrassment” in Downing Street if the CMA’s ruling goes against the company.
Last month, the CMA said it no longer believed there would be “significantly less competition” in the console market — a market in which Microsoft has a presence with its Xbox — if Microsoft acquired Activision Blizzard, which owns the Call of Duty franchise.
It’s a reversal of the CMA’s earlier stance, with Microsoft reportedly wanting to see the deal approved, a major boost.
However, industry sources said they still saw a “significant” risk of the CMA blocking the takeover entirely.
In a statement, Microsoft said it “appreciates[d] Rigorous and thorough assessment of the evidence by the CMA”.
“This deal will give more players more options to play Call of Duty and their favorite games.”
An insider said the CMA’s ruling could come before the statutory deadline.
Downing Street did not respond to a request for comment.