Microsoft faces EU antitrust warning over Activision deal – sources

BRUSSELS, Jan 16 (Reuters) – Microsoft (MSFT.O) EU likely to receive antitrust warning over its $69 billion bid for “Call of Duty” maker Activision Blizzard (ATVI.O)Another challenge could be closing the deal, people familiar with the matter said.

The European Commission is preparing a statement of objections, known as a statement of objections, that will be sent to Microsoft in the coming weeks, the people said.

The EU antitrust watchdog, which has set an April 11 deadline for a decision on the deal, declined to comment.

Microsoft said: “We continue to work with the European Commission to address any market issues. Our goal is to bring more games to more people, and this deal furthers that goal.”

The US software company and Xbox maker announced the acquisition in January last year to help it better compete with leaders Tencent. (0700.HK) And Sony (6758.T).

The Microsoft logo is seen on a smartphone placed over the Activision Blizzard logo shown in this illustration taken on January 18, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

However, US and UK regulators have expressed concerns, with the US Federal Trade Commission going to court to block the deal.

Microsoft is expected to try to avoid reporting a fee to EU regulators and shorten the regulatory process, other sources familiar with the matter told Reuters in November.

However, the EU competition enforcer is not expected to be open to settlements without first sending its indictment, although informal discussions about offers are ongoing, the people said.

Microsoft reached a 10-year deal with Nintendo last month (7974.D) Nintendo has said it is open to a similar deal with Sony to make “Call of Duty” available on consoles, which is key to the acquisition.

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The deal has been given the green light without conditions in Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Serbia.

Reporting by Mark Potter Editing by Fu Yun See

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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