British regulators should consider their “responsibilities for economic growth”, said Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, after the UK’s competition watchdog blocked the merger between Microsoft and gaming giant Activision Blizzard.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) halted the 68.7 billion dollar (£55 billion) deal by the tech giant to take over Activision, the company behind Call Of Duty and other games, due to concerns over the cloud gaming market.
On Monday, European regulators approved the move after they accepted commitments offered by Microsoft designed to ensure that the deal does not lessen competition.
Microsoft’s vice chair and president Brad Smith said the UK regulatory environment compared unfavourably with the EU and warned the “English Channel has never seemed wider” after the decision.
“I think one of the reasons that companies like Microsoft and Google want to invest in the UK is because we have independent regulators that are not controlled by politicians and therefore they can be confident there will be a level playing field.
“I would not want to undermine that at all, but I do think it’s important all our regulators understand their wider responsibilities for economic growth.
“But for our tech sector, it isn’t just about being able to get through big deals, competition really matters.”