Activision Blizzard Hires Lord Pannick KC in Fight for Deal

Activision Blizzard Hires Lord Pannick KC in Fight for $69 Billion Microsoft Deal

Video game industry giant Activision Blizzard has retained famed UK barrister Lord Pannick KC to represent its appeal against the CMA.

Lord Pannick is widely regarded as one of the UK’s foremost barristers, with a history of representing high-profile clients in legal disputes. Recently he represented former prime minister Boris Johnson during the “Partygate” investigation, and in 2003 he acted for Queen Elizabeth, winning an injunction against the Daily Mirror after a journalist posed as a Buckingham Palace footman.

The move follows the blocking of a historic $69 billion merger between Activision Blizzard and Microsoft by the CMA, the UK’s competition watchdog. Activision Blizzared CEO Bobby Kotick vowed to fight to continue the deal, which if successfully closed would constitute the highest-value deal in the video game industry to date.

The company’s hiring of Pannick provides a clear indication of its seriousness in appealing the watchdog’s decision.

“This is not the first time the CMA has effectively halted a major tech acquisition but the appeal process can be a long fight and by the time it is finally resolved the outcome may be the same even if errors are found,” commented Professor Suzanne Rab, competition law barrister at Serle Court chambers. “These cases serve as a reminder to dealmakers of the CMA’s ability to impose very significant worldwide outcomes, including in foreign-to-foreign mergers.”

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