EU reportedly unlikely to demand asset sales in Microsoft Activision merger
Sources claim the offer of licensing deals to rivals is expected to address antitrust concerns
The European Commission is reportedly unlikely to demand asset sales as part of its approval process for Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
While UK regulator the CMA recently suggested structural remedies might be required for it to approve the deal, such as Activision Blizzard selling off the Call of Duty franchise—something Microsoft has said is not feasible or realistic—Reuters reports that this is not expected to be the case in Brussels.
Three people said to be familiar with the matter claimed the Xbox maker’s willingness to offer game licensing deals to rivals is likely to address EU antitrust concerns over the $69 billion deal.
Last week, Microsoft announced it had signed a binding 10-year legal agreement to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo platforms should the merger be approved.
It also confirmed a 10-year partnership with Nvidia to bring its Xbox PC games to cloud gaming service GeForce Now, including Call of Duty.
Microsoft recently said it had also offered Sony a 10-year, legally enforceable contract to make each new Call of Duty game available on PlayStation the same day it comes to Xbox – with full content and feature parity.
While Sony has so far refused to accept the offer, Microsoft president Brad Smith said last week that he remains hopeful of striking a deal with PlayStation.
“Our commitment to grant long term 100% equal access to Call of Duty to Sony, Steam, NVIDIA and others preserves the deal’s benefits to gamers and developers and increases competition in the market,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement issued to Reuters.
On Wednesday, the European Commission extended the deadline for its decision on the deal by 10 days to April 25.
Microsoft and Activision reportedly met with the CMA this week to discuss the UK regulator’s concerns over the merger. It’s claimed Microsoft said it’s willing to pay a third-party agency to oversee its compliance with any agreed deal remedies.