Microsoft swerves CMA investigation into Mistral AI deal

Conference attendees walk past a Microsoft logo during Web Summit in Lisbon on November 6, 2019
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced it will close its inquiry into Microsoft’s multi-million-dollar deal with Mistral AI.

Despite concerns that this investment may constitute a merger under UK regulation, the CMA has decided on the basis of its inquiry that this is not the case and that the deal is acceptable under UK law.

“The CMA has decided that Microsoft Corporation’s partnership with Mistral AI does not qualify for investigation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002,” the CMA stated.

Initially, the CMA said it had “sufficient information” on the partnership between Microsoft and Mistral to enable it to begin an investigation. 

Though there was a possibility that the CMA may “refer the Partnership for a phase 2 investigation”, this action was not taken. 

In the lead-up to the inquiry, the CMA put out an ‘invitation to comment’, in which it sought to get a better sense of the Microsoft and Mistral may be worth investigating. 

“The CMA is keen to ensure that all interested parties have the opportunity to make their views known and present all relevant evidence to the CMA. The CMA is therefore issuing this preliminary ‘invitation to comment’,” the CMA stated. 

Having not received sufficient material to proceed with regard to the partnership, the regulatory body has cleared the deal. 

Microsoft isn’t out of the woods


Regulators in the UK weren’t the only ones to look into Microsoft’s partnership with Mistral, with the European Commission also raising concerns.

The commission stated in February that it was “looking into agreements that have been concluded between large digital market players and generative AI developers and providers”, and that it would examine the deal with Mistral.

The original investment constituted a $16 million funding pledge with plans to convert that into equity, as well as the provision of access to Microsoft Azure for Mistral.

George Fitzmaurice
Staff Writer

George Fitzmaurice is a staff writer at ITPro, ChannelPro, and CloudPro, with a particular interest in AI regulation, data legislation, and market development. After graduating from the University of Oxford with a degree in English Language and Literature, he undertook an internship at the New Statesman before starting at ITPro. Outside of the office, George is both an aspiring musician and an avid reader.