Microsoft has hired one of the most renowned appeals lawyers to lead its counter-offensive against the CMA's decision to block the Activision merger.
While the CMA has chosen to block the Microsoft-Activision merger, the parties can still file an appeal to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) in an effort to get the decision overturned and have the merger case cycle back into the CMA's investigations.
Microsoft has hired Monckton Chamber's Daniel Beard KC, a well-known lawyer with experience in defending competition cases against regulators, to lead the company's appeal against the CMA's Microsoft-Activision merger block. The Telegraph reports that Microsoft counsel is expected to file an appeal in the coming days.
Beard is one of the most proficient litigators in the field of competition and appeals cases, and was responsible for convincing the EU's General Court to overturn a significant €1.1bn fine that the European Commission had levied against Intel on the grounds of anti-competitive effects in the processor market.
It's worth noting that Beard was also a part of the merger proceedings and served as part of Microsoft's legal counsel at the tail end of the company's talks with UK regulators.
Beard is not the only high-profile lawyer that's representing Microsoft in this merger case: Beth Wilkinson, who is famous for her involvement in successfully arguing for the death penalty of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, is involved with the merger case.
Wilkinson had previously said that Microsoft and Activision were prepared to close-over the deal even during the FTC's administrative court case provided the merger was approved in other territories.
As Foss Patents' Florian Mueller notes, this process could take many months and may push the merger past its closing date. Microsoft and Activision will likely need to re-negotiate a new agreement, however the European Commission is expected to deliver its final answer on the merger on May 22, and an approval would carry weight in ongoing proceedings in the United States with the FTC, and may also add more weight to Microsoft's appeal to the Tribunal.