Microsoft Said to Offer EU Approval Soon to Activision Deal: The Details

Microsoft is likely to offer remedies to EU antitrust regulators in the coming weeks to fend off legal opposition to its $69 billion (roughly Rs. 56,350 crore) acquisition of Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard, people familiar with the matter said. matter.

The US software giant and Xbox maker announced the deal in January to help it better compete with leaders Tencent and Sony.

It has since faced regulatory storms in the European Union, Britain and the United States, with Sony criticizing the deal and even calling for a regulatory veto.

The deadline for the European Commission, which is investigating the deal, to set out an official list of competition concerns known as a statement of objections is in January. Providing remedies before such a document is issued can slow down the regulatory process.

“Ultimately, this measure may receive early approval from the European Commission and be used by parties before other antitrust agencies,” said Stephane Dionnet, a partner at law firm McDermott Will & Emery.

“However, it remains to be seen whether active plaintiffs will warrant such approval (especially in terms of scope) and if the moral remedies will also be accepted by the CMA and the FTC,” he said, referring to UK and US antitrust. agencies.

Microsoft’s solution will primarily involve a 10-year license agreement with PlayStation owner Sony, another person with direct knowledge said.

Activision shares rose 2 percent after the Reuters story was published.

The EU competition watchdog, which is scheduled to decide on the deal on April 11, and Sony declined to comment.

Microsoft said it is working with the Commission to address the market’s legal issues.

“Sony, as an industry leader, says it’s worried about Call of Duty, but we’ve said we’re willing to make the same game available on the same day for both Xbox and PlayStation. We want people to have more access to games for Less,” said a Microsoft spokesperson.

The agreement was canceled unconditionally in Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Serbia.

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