Many of us were awaiting the UK competition and markets authority's decision, which yesterday confirmed Microsoft’s £55bn acquisition of Call of Duty games creator had been blocked.
While this development is clearly relevant to the biggest businesses, it is potentially quite significant for small and medium-sized businesses in the sector, too.
Although many small and medium sized businesses would not consider themselves to be in the same pond as Activision-Blizzard or Microsoft, and are never really going to directly compete, in many cases they might be planning to grow to a particular size and be acquired by one of the behemoths. This is a rather common strategy. The CMA’s announcement means that gaming companies globally might have to carefully consider their 5–10-year plans and growth and exit strategies, and importantly whether any exit strategy that may have involved targeting a significant acquirer is impacted by this decision, notwithstanding that Microsoft have already announced their plans to appeal the decision.
If you are a small or medium-sized business, you would be well-advised not to ignore this news on the assumption that this is the preserve of giant businesses only. You should be looking at your business’s exit plans and thinking about whether the changing attitudes of the regulator affect these plans. In many cases, this is likely to call for a revision of your growth and exit strategy.
Microsoft has had its $68.7bn (£55bn) acquisition of Activision Blizzard blocked by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the regulator confirmed on Wednesday.