Microsoft is still under regulatory pressure in Europe and the US. The company is ready to offer European Commission concessions to complete the $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
According to Reuters, Microsoft is likely to roll out remedies to EU antitrust regulators in the coming weeks. The European Commission is expected to issue a statement of objection detailing competition concerns to the deal by January 2023. As such, Microsoft wants to make concessions before that date. ty said.
McDermott Will & Emery partner Stephane Dionnet told Reuters the move could speed up negotiations with the European Commission and then be used before other regulators. “However, it remains to be seen whether active claimants endorse those concessions (especially in scope) and whether behavioral remedies will also be accepted by the CMA and the FTC. no,” he added.
These concessions could include a licensing deal with Sony to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for another 10 years, something Microsoft has offered to its Japanese rival. The uncertain future of Activision’s shooter franchise is one of the main points of contention in the deal. Sony continued to object to the transaction, saying that Call of Duty is such a unique IP that it is almost impossible to compete.
According to Sony, further expanding Microsoft’s services will actually hurt competitors and make it harder to compete in the market. Other regulators are also worried that Microsoft could make CoD a monopoly for the Xbox ecosystem and thereby hurt competition in the games market. The $68.7 billion deal was just approved in Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Serbia. Microsoft and Activision Blizzard still have to get approvals in 13 countries.
The transaction is being closely monitored in the UK and US. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority is currently conducting the second phase of its investigation, while the US Federal Trade Commission could soon file an antitrust lawsuit to block the deal. Taking into account all the concerns key watchdogs have, the Chinese regulator has refused to consider Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard under a simplified procedure.