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There’s another ray of hope for Microsoft as it continues to fight for its proposed $69 billion Activision merger. According to a new Reuters report, Serbia joins the Brazil and Saudi Arabia regulators in approving the deal. And to counter the objections to the merger, the Redmond company might offer concessions to EU regulators.
The report mentions a “10-year licensing deal to Playstation owner Sony” as part of the concessions, though it didn’t detail what exactly it is for. Nonetheless, it likely refers to the earlier reports regarding Microsoft extending the previously 3-year deal of Sony for Call of Duty to ten years.
The European Commission is expected to release a statement of objection in January. The said document will reportedly include the formal list of competition concerns, but Reuters stresses that presenting the remedies before the document is released could shorten the regulatory process. This means in case the remedies are accepted, the European Commission could announce its decision regarding the deal earlier instead of having it on April 11 next year.
Earlier this month, the EU announced putting the merger into a deeper probe. According to the regulator, it is concerned about possible “foreclosure strategies” that might “reduce competition in the markets for the distribution of console and personal computers video games and for PC operating systems.”
Another recent hurdle Microsoft is facing regarding the proposed acquisition is the report of the FTC possibly filing its own suit to block the deal. While only a possibility, it might completely force Microsoft and Activision to leave the merger proposal in case the agency pushes for the suit. In a report by Politico, it is explained that the two companies have to close the deal by July 2023 without agreement renegotiations, but an administrative lawsuit that will take time to be resolved might prevent them from reaching the said target deadline.
Microsoft, meanwhile, expressed its willingness to cooperate with the regulators in order to resolve concerns.
“As we have said before, we are prepared to address the concerns of regulators, including the FTC, and Sony to ensure the deal closes with confidence,” a Microsoft spokesperson told game writer and enthusiast Cade Onder. “We’ll still trail Sony and Tencent in the market after the deal closes, and together Activision and Xbox will benefit gamers and developers and make the industry more competitive.”