Regulator "wrong to block" Microsoft deal - poll

8 May 2023

A new poll says the balance of public opinion is that the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority was wrong to block Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

The balance of public opinion opposes recent UK regulatory moves to obstruct Microsoft’s acquisition of games company Activision Blizzard.

This is the key finding of a new poll commissioned by strategic communications firm DRD Partnership following the decision on 26 April by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to block the deal.

A nationally representative poll of over 1,000 UK adults conducted over the weekend after the proposed merger was blocked – the results of which are published today – found that 25% of the public were opposed to the decision to block the deal, compared with 16% who did not think it was wrong.

The study also found that 28% thought the decision would make investment in the UK less likely while 12% disagreed. Some 32% said the Government had no role in interfering with the ability for businesses to make decisions for themselves.

The proposed acquirer, Microsoft, was considered to be “a trustworthy company that believes in fair competition” according to 37% of those polled, with just 13% disagreeing.

The survey also examined public attitudes towards the impact of leaving the EU on regulation. 34% felt that Brexit should make it easier for businesses to buy and sell companies, while 42% felt Brexit should mean the Government not standing in the way of investment in the UK.

The poll also found that 37% thought that technology companies can be trusted to develop new products and services in the interests of their customers, with only 13% disagreeing. 34% also said they would like technology companies to make it easier to access new and exciting products, like computer games.

Commenting on the poll’s findings, Jon McLeod, Partner and head of Competition and Antitrust at DRD Partnership, said:

“These findings demonstrate that competition decisions can be out of step with the public’s aspirations for access to innovative products and services. The howls of protest over the CMA’s decision in the Microsoft / Activision Blizzard case are reflective of a slippage in trust in the UK’s regulatory system, for which some had expected better after Brexit.”


– Ends –

Notes to editors

A full copy of the poll results can be viewed here.

About Censuswide and the poll methodology:

Research was conducted with a survey by Censuswide, among a sample of 1,002 UK adults aged 16+, nationally representative on age, gender and region. The data was collected between 28.04.23 – 02.05.23. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society and follows the MRS code of conduct which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

About DRD Partnership

Founded in 2012, DRD Partnership has made a rapid impact in applying proven expertise in managing reputational issues for client businesses and organisations across a wide range of domestic and international markets.

DRD Partnership is a strategic communications consultancy focused on building value for our clients and protecting their reputations at moments of challenge and change.

DRD helps clients develop a positive deal rationale that is in line with current Whitehall and Westminster priorities. It also provides strategic public affairs and campaign support to help you get your deal cleared.

Our approach combines the deep experience of our senior partner team with rigorous analysis and interrogation of issues. This is to ensure that our programmes deliver meaningful impact.

DRD’s partners have held senior roles in government, financial institutions, the law, international corporations, charities and leading public affairs consultancies. By combining our insight into relevant institutions with our experience of engaging stakeholders and delivering campaigns in multiple markets, we ensure that, when clients have only one chance to get things right, we are consistently able to meet and exceed their expectations.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Jon McLeod

Partner, DRD Partnership

+44 (0) 7775 530978


Toby Chapman

Senior Analyst, DRD Partnership

+44 (0) 7873 140131