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🍭 Microsoft wants Candy Crush

In today’s email:

  • SVB FCB

  • Live photos of birds

  • The planets align for you

  • Lawyers working a four-day-week

  • Microsoft’s becoming a gaming company

If you take just one thing from this email…

Even when two parties agree to sell a company, agree the price, agree the structure… that’s not enough!

On important issues, like competition or national security, the government could also need to sign off on the deal before it goes ahead.

EDITOR'S RAMBLE 🗣

Hey LittleLawyers!

If you’ve not got any plans tonight, you can check out a rare alignment of five planets in front of the moon (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Uranus are all on the guest list).

Apparently it’s visible from anywhere on earth (as long as there’s no clouds) and should look something like this 👇

Credit: BBC

- Idin

FEATURED REPORT 📰

🍭 Microsoft wants Candy Crush

What’s going on here?

Microsoft is closer to acquiring gaming giant Activision Blizzard for a whopping £56.7bn. The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) looks like it’s going to give the merger the green light, saying the deal won't reduce competition in the video gaming industry (although before they thought it would).

Why does Microsoft want to buy Activision Blizzard?

Microsoft doesn’t want to just be known for home computer software anymore (boring!). It wants to expand its presence in the gaming industry. Activision owns well-known games like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and - the most important game of all - Candy Crush.

Microsoft’s Xbox is also losing the games console battle against Sony’s Playstation, so they need this to help them!

What are the hurdles that Microsoft is facing?

  1. 🚫 Competition law: If the deal were to go ahead, Microsoft would own a big share of the gaming industry. Regulators were worried this could limit competition and ultimately harm regular gamers. In the US, the The Federal Trade Commission (an independent government agency in the US which protects customers) moved to block the deal.

  2. 🤬 Reputation: Activision Blizzard has faced criticism over its handling of sexual harassment and discrimination allegations in the workplace, leading to ongoing investigations and lawsuits. Microsoft has committed to addressing these issues, but they pose a legal and reputational risk for the company.

  3. 🔒 Data privacy: The merger could raise concerns over data privacy and security, as Microsoft would gain access to the personal data of millions of gamers worldwide. Regulators might scrutinise how Microsoft plans to use and protect this data, particularly in light of recent data breaches and cyberattacks affecting the video game industry.

How did the CMA initially react to the deal?

The CMA was initially against the deal in 2022 and actually issued a statement of objection to it in March 2022. They thought Microsoft buying Activision would give the tech giant too much power. For example, they were worried Microsoft would only make Activision’s games available on its Microsoft-owned Xbox consoles, not letting Sony’s Playstation have a turn.

What’s changed now?

After doing its own reviews, the CMA is now happy that Microsoft won’t limit the games to its own consoles. It believes that doing that would lose Microsoft a lot of money. So, it’s less worried about the competition issue.

So, the deal’s going ahead?

Not yet. The CMA's own inquiry doesn’t complete until April and the takeover’s still subject to approval by regulators in the US and EU.

Why should law firms care?

Law firms working on big deals which could have competition law elements will have been watching this closely.

The CMA changed its position from being very much against the deal to kind-of being okay with it. Firms will learn from this when dealing with competition issues in their own future deals.

Commercial law firms have been working to advise both parties in this deal. Microsoft has been working with two US firms on this: Weil Gotshal & Manges have advised on the competition issues and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett are helping with the corporate elements.

Activision are working with another US firm, Skadden on both corporate and competition matters.

A BIT OF FUN 😄

🤕 I wonder why…

IN OTHER NEWS 🗞

  • 📆 Should law firms switch to a four-day week?: A trial of a four-day working week in the UK showed that it worked well for many industries, but no law firms wanted to take part. This article is written by a solicitor who works a four-day week - they suggest that law firms could benefit from implementing it intelligently.

  • 🛒 First Citizens BancShares is buying the assets of Silicon Valley Bank: The North-Carolina bank has now bought SVB's assets and loans for a cheap price, making its investors so happy that its share price went up 40%. First Citizens will open all of the SVB branches under its own name from Monday (ouch - that’s gotta hurt).

  • 😨 Deutsche Bank could be the next big bank in trouble: The issues with banks just don’t seem to stop recently! The cost of Deutsche Bank’s credit default swaps have been rising in the last few days… Credit default swaps are basically what investors buy to protect themselves against the bank’s failure - so people are betting on Deutsche’s death!

AROUND THE WEB 🌐

  • 🌍️ Global: In today’s global chaos, it can be impossible to keep up with international news. If you don’t have time to read The Economist, NYT, and Washington Post before heading to work, check out International Intrigue.*

  • 🧠 Fun: You heard of the game ‘20 questions’? Well now you can play the game with an AI!

  • 🐦️ Cute: This website shows you live photos of birds taken by smart bird-feeders around the world.

* This is an affiliate link. It's free to join for you and if you sign up through us, we will receive a small commission.

STUFF THAT MIGHT HELP YOU 👌

  • 👥 Community for aspiring lawyers: If you're struggling with motivation for law firm applications, check out FlowHuddle - a supportive online community, hosting remote co-working sessions, expert office hours and in-person meet-ups.

  • 📕Commercial awareness journal: Check out this journal that we've created alongside the team from The Lawyer Spot. It gives your a simple three-step structure to improve your commercial awareness in a high-quality physical notebook.

  • 📣 Advertise with us: If you're looking to reach an engaged audience of over 6,000 aspiring lawyers, drop us an email.

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