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Activision appoints Boris Johnson ‘partygate’ lawyer for CMA case

Activision lawyer
Image credit: Sergei Elagin via Shutterstock

Activision Blizzard has brought in Lord David Pannick, a veteran lawyer known for defending Boris Johnson during the “partygate” scandal, to represent the video game firm during its legal action against UK regulators.

First reported by the Financial Times, the lawyer of the former prime minister will handle Activision’s case at a Competition Appeal Tribunal.

Pannick has also previously represented members of the UK royal family, Formula 1 executives, and Roland Rowland.

The UK’s competition regulator blocked the £55bn merger of Activision Blizzard and Microsoft last month after it determined the deal would harm the cloud gaming market.

“Microsoft already enjoys a powerful position and head start over other competitors in cloud gaming and this deal would strengthen that advantage giving it the ability to undermine new and innovative competitors,” said Martin Coleman, who chaired the independent panel that investigated the deal.

Activision and Microsoft have both expressed frustration and confusion at the decision by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), with Microsoft president Brad Smith concluding that the UK was “clearly closed for business”.

The firms made it clear that they would continue pursuing the case, with Activison Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick saying the decision was “far from the final word on this deal”.

Microsoft has also reportedly appointed a prominent legal team to support them in the case.