The chief executive of the UK’s competition regulator has defended its decision to block Microsoft’s acquisition of video game publisher Activision Blizzard after backlash from both companies.

CMA chief executive Sarah Cardell remained firm on the regulator’s decision and claimed it was the right thing for the UK.

“The decision that the CMA takes is an independent decision that we reached looking at an overall assessment of the impact of the deal on competition, and we think that is the right decision for the UK,” Cardell told the BBC.

Cardell noted the UK was not alone in the decision, noting the US Federal Trade Commission had also moved to block the deal.

Both Microsoft and Activision Blizzard have spoken out against the decision by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), claiming it sent the wrong message to the tech industry.

The UK watchdog made the decision to block the $69bn deal on Wednesday after noting that it could damage competition in the nascent cloud gaming market.

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Brad Smith, President of Microsoft, criticised the CMA in a BBC interview, stating the decision “had shaken confidence in the UK tech industry” and was “probably the darkest day in our four decades in Britain”.

Smith added that the UK needs to “look hard at the role of the CMA” if it wanted “to bring in investment” and “create jobs”.

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