PlayStation boss Jim Ryan reportedly met EU antitrust chief this week about Microsoft Activision deal
It’s claimed the EU will warn Microsoft of its concerns about the acquisition this week
Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan reportedly met EU antitrust boss Margrethe Vestager on Wednesday to discuss Microsoft‘s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
That’s according to a Reuters source who declined to provide details of the discussion between PlayStation’s boss and Vestager.
Microsoft is seeking to complete a $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, but what would be the games industry’s biggest ever deal by far has been met with fierce opposition from Sony and concerns from European, US and UK regulators.
In what would be the latest setback in the road to completing the deal, the EU is this week expected to issue Microsoft with a charge sheet setting out its concerns about the acquisition, Reuters reports.
It recently said Microsoft was hoping to offer remedies to EU regulators in an attempt to avert a statement of objections and shorten the regulatory process. However, it’s claimed the EU is not open to remedies without first sending out its charge sheet.
The US Federal Trade Commission recently sued Microsoft in a bid to block the acquisition, which the regulator argues would enable the company to “suppress competitors” to its Xbox console, subscription content and cloud gaming business.
Among other concerns, regulators have expressed worries that the deal could significantly reduce PlayStation’s ability to compete, given that it would see Microsoft gain ownership of the Call of Duty series, which Sony has called “irreplaceable”.
In a bid to address these concerns, Microsoft recently said it had 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.
The FTC filed its lawsuit attempting to block the acquisition in a bid to dissuade EU regulators from accepting a settlement allowing the deal, Bloomberg sources claimed this week.
The acquisition would also give Microsoft exclusive ownership of franchises including Warcraft, Overwatch, Crash Bandicoot and Guitar Hero. The European Commission is scheduled to rule on the deal by April 11.
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority recently delayed plans to publish its final report on the acquisition by up to eight weeks. It will now be published by April 26.