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EU explains Microsoft Activision deal approval - and why it disagrees with the UK's block

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The boss of the European Commission has explained in detail why her agency approved Microsoft's $68.7bn Activision Blizzard deal — and why she thinks the UK was wrong to block it.

In a speech given yesterday, European Commission executive vice president Margrethe Vestager laid out the regulator's own «call of duty» to only block buyouts when really necessary. «Merger control is by nature a forward-looking exercise,» Vestager said. «But that power comes with challenges… And to make things even more complicated, for global deals many authorities are predicting the future, at the same time.

Of course we cooperate, but disagreements sometimes happen. No less recently than last week, we cleared the Microsoft/Activision deal, while the CMA decided to block it.» Vestager said she believes regulators such as the EU's European Commission and the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) should not be concerned with how decisions are perceived. «Currently, some people think that agencies should either block or clear mergers.

Nothing in between. So if you block you are a 'tough' enforcer. If you clear, well, let's just say you are not perceived as tough. »That is not our policy," Vestager continued. «Framing enforcement in a binary decision (to clear or to block) is limitative.

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