Microsoft Meets With EU Regulators Over Activision-Blizzard Deal

Call of Duty Mobile

Microsoft, Sony meet with EU regulators as $69bn deal faces headwinds from regulators in US and UK over competition concerns

Microsoft and Sony are attending a closed-door hearing with EU antitrust regulators in Brussels on Tuesday as  each side lays out its case over why Microsoft’s $69 billion (£57bn) acquisition of Activision Blizzard should or should not go ahead.

Microsoft president Brad Smith told reporters ahead of the meeting that the deal would bring more competition to the industry.

“I think we’ll make clear that our acquisition of Activision Blizzard will bring more games to more people on more devices and platforms than ever before,” he said.

He added that the company was “more than willing” to address the concerns of regulators and competitors through contracts or regulatory undertakings.

Microsoft president Brad Smith. Image credit: Microsoft activision blizzard gaming
Microsoft president Brad Smith. Image credit: Microsoft

Nintendo deal

He noted that Microsoft has signed a 10-year agreement with Nintendo, announced on Tuesday, to “bring Call of Duty to Nintendo devices”.

The Microsoft delegation includes 18 senior executives, including Microsoft Gaming chief executive Phil Spencer and Activision chief executive Robert Kotick, Reuters reported, citing a European Commission document.

Sony, Google and chip maker Nvidia, who have all been critical of the deal, are all attending the hearing in person or online.

The UK and the United States have both shown substantial opposition to the deal – which is one of the 30 biggest acquisitions of all time and Microsoft’s largest ever – with the US’ FTC formally suing Microsoft to block the arrangement from going ahead.

Structural remedies

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) earlier this month released provisional findings that suggest structural remedies including the divestiture of the business associated with popular game Call of Duty, the Activision part of the business or blocking the deal altogether.

The EU has said it aims to finalise its review by 11 April, while the UK investigation is scheduled to conclude by 26 April.